Local fans of off-price retailers such as Winners and HomeSense should circle April 4 on their calendar.
That's the day the U.S.-based Marshalls chain will make its Winnipeg debut with the opening of a 28,000-square-foot store in the new Polo North development at Polo Park.
"The fixtures are all in, and they're putting everything together," Marshalls spokeswoman Tamara Robbins Griffith said of the new outlet, which will serve as the anchor retail tenant in the three-storey, 210,000-square-foot office/retail complex under construction on the former Winnipeg Arena site.
"I know truckloads of merchandise are arriving every day... so there is a lot going on."
Robbins Griffith said the Winnipeg store is one of three Marshalls that will be opening in Canada on April 4. The others are in Vancouver and Toronto. She said each store typically employs between 40 and 60 full- and part-time staff.
Marshalls is owned by TJX Companies Inc., the U.S.-based retail heavyweight that also owns Winners, HomeSense, TJ Maxx and StyleSense.
Like Winners, Marshalls specializes in brand-name apparel and home fashions at discounted prices.
"But it's a bit of a different (product) mix than Winners," Robbins Griffith said, noting Marshalls stores carry more footwear and men's and children's clothing. They also have a special section for teenage girls called The Cube.
Marshalls will be one of four retail tenants in the $36-million Polo North complex, which is being developed by Winnipeg's Shindico Realty Inc. and Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. Work should be completed before the start of summer.
The other three retail tenants include a Mark's Work Wearhouse, a retail outlet for Western Financial, which is also leasing the top two floors of office space, and an unnamed fourth party.
Shindico's development manager, Bob Downs, wouldn't reveal any details about the fourth retailer.
"The deal is virtually done, but we just can't talk about it yet."
Industry sources said earlier this winter Marks Work Wearhouse and U.S. home accessories giant Bed, Bath & Beyond were rumoured to be joining Marshalls in Polo North.
Bed, Bath & Beyond has stores in every Canadian province except Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec and has been eyeing the Winnipeg market for more than four years. But company officials have declined to comment.
Downs said Mark's Work Wearhouse is relocating its nearby St. James Street store to Polo North. The new store will be about 18,000 square feet in size.
A spokesman for Mark's Work Wearhouse also was unavailable for comment.
Robbins Griffith said with the three April 4 store openings, Marshall's will have 21 outlets in Canada. Its goal is to open 90 to 100.
"But we have not outlined our long-term annual growth plans... so I can't say how many more will open in Winnipeg, or when," she added.
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Work is underway on a previously announced addition to CentreVenture Development Corp.'s Main Street redevelopment plan.
An old, two-storey building on the north side of the Bell Hotel has been demolished to make way for a new office/retail building.
The 14,154-square-foot, three-storey structure will be built on that site and an adjoining vacant lot. The developer is JMT Holdings Inc., which is the property arm of Winnipeg's JC Paving Ltd.
The project was first announced in October 2011, but work didn't get underway until a few weeks ago, when the building was demolished.
"Now we're basically finishing the shorting of the Bell Hotel wall in order to keep that nice and solid...," JC Paving vice-president Tony Teixeira said.
He said foundation work should get underway within the next month and building should be completed by the spring of next year.
A pharmacy and a foot clinic will occupy the main floor of the building, Teixeira said, and a local college that will train workers for the health-care industry is leasing most of the second floor. However, he said, it's too soon to reveal names.
JMT Holdings envisions doctors' offices or some other type of medical-related office tenants on the top floor.
"We want to make it almost like a mini-medical centre," Teixeira said. "The close proximity to the WRHA (Winnipeg Regional Health Authority) building would make that a good fit."
The CentreVenture's Main Street redevelopment plan focuses on the strip of Main between William Avenue and the CP Rail overpass just north of Higgins Avenue. The completed pieces of the puzzle include the conversion of the Bell Hotel into housing for the homeless, the WRHA office building to the south of the Bell, the United Way office building and the conversion of the Union Bank Tower into the recently opened Paterson Global Foods Institute, which includes the hospitality and culinary arts programs of Red River College and six floors of student residences.
CentreVenture president and CEO Ross McGowan said the JMT Holdings project is the latest, but not the last, piece in the Main Street redevelopment puzzle. "We're still keeping an eye on what's going on on Main Street," he said, and streetscaping work will be continuing in the Market Avenue and James Avenue area east of Main.
Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail, or industrial real estate sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below, or at 204-697-7254.