Two once bustling malls in Edmonton have lost their anchor clients. Bonnie Doon will lose their Sears by the end of January, and Mill Woods Town Centre lost the Target last year.
Craig Patterson is the Director of Applied Research at the U of A and is the Editor in Cheif of Retail Insider Magazine. He tells Global News that one thing both locations share in common is that they will both be home to stops along the expanding LRT.
“I do have some concerns over the way that the LRT is going to be designed, being ground oriented. I think that there’s been some major challenges in North Edmonton along the new line there, but I do hope it works out because definitely developers do look at transit when they’re looking at intensifying sites.”
Patterson says that Boonie Doon as it sits now is dated and unexciting with an unremarkable retail mix, however:
“It’s in an area that’s becoming increasingly affluent, it’s got excellent proximity to downtown, it’s got tremendous transit potential with the LRT coming in. It’s such an incredible location that with the acres that are there there’s a potential to develop it into something incredible.”
One way of bringing more people through the doors that’s being considered is to add residential space. At Mill Woods Town Centre, they’re looking at adding 4, 16 story towers for a total of 1700 units.
Bonnie Doon’s Charlene Robertson says they’re looking at a similar conversion.
“People can live and shop and get their basic needs and go to the doctor and get a haircut.”
She adds, “what it looks like today and what it’ll look like in five to ten years is going to be very different.”
Employees of the Sears in Bonnie Doon will be offered positions in other Edmonton Sears stores as they become available.