With the exception of the Food Basics, most of the stores in the long-struggling Herongate Mall will be torn down starting this summer to make room for a major redevelopment that is likely to take two years.
“We are knocking down the entire shopping centre except for the Food Basics,” said Philip Currie, vice president of Trinity Development Group.
He said construction of the mall located between Walkley and Heron roads starts this summer and the demolition of the rest of the mall will happen sometime next summer.
The redevelopment will transform the aging and deserted mall into a more attractive and vibrant neighbourhood shopping centre, said Currie.
“The mall right now is very run down,” he said.
Currie said he is optimistic the community will support the mall, once it is redeveloped.
“We think the area will support something like this and I think the general public will appreciate what we are doing,” said Currie.
He said they are helping tenants currently in the mall to relocate before the mall is torn down.
“We are relocating the Scotiabank, Pharma Plus and a couple of other smaller tenants inside the mall,” said Currie.
Overall the redevelopment will take about two years, but Currie said it is still early to determine who the tenants of the refurbished mall will be.
“The definitive final shape of the shopping centre and who is the final tenant that still to be determined,”
“At this point it is all going to be market driven and will all depend on tenant interest but until it is formalized I am not sure exactly what shape it is going to take and who the tenants would be,”
Trinity Development Group is working with RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust to redevelop the 200,000-square-foot mall.
There had been reports that the mall had a vacancy of 40 per cent, which was exacerbated when the 50,000-square-foot Convergys facility at one end of the mall closed in 2010.
Even with the aging and low occupancy, some shoppers think it is not right to have the mall torn down.
“I come here because, prices are relatively affordable at this mall,” said Bobbette Smith, a resident of Greely.
“If they are just tearing it down to put up a prettier building and then increase prices of commodities then that is not going to benefit the community.”
She wondered what it is mall owners are going to put in the new shopping centre that will attract more businesses that aren’t there now.
“If it is doing what it is supposed to do, why tear it down?” said Smith.
Some seniors were also upset the demolition of the mall will affect their way of living.
Betty Larabie walks everyday to the mall to meet and chat with fellow seniors.
“I wake up at nine every day, shower and head to the mall. Now that is not going to happen again,” said Larabie.
She said she doesn’t like the idea of tearing down the mall.
“We like it very much and I thought it could stay longer.We are going to have nothing to do now if they tear down.”
Larabie said she’s been frequenting the mall for more than 20 years now and can’t imagine life without it.
“It is going to affect all the seniors. I have been coming here for more than 20 years.
I think it is wrong,” she said.