Regina’s Cornwall Centre has unveiled a renovation to its food court as its owner continues to invest in the downtown shopping centre. The updated second-level space is expected to draw in more potential tenants as well as customers to the centre, which recently saw several high-profile vacancies as the retail market shifts.
The updated food court includes new furniture, flooring and lighting fixtures, and features 730 seats. Shopping centre landlords across Canada are expanding food-and-beverage options in order to increase dwell-time while offering guests another reason to come to the centre.
Cornwall Centre, which opened in downtown Regina in 1981, is the clear market leader in terms of retail offerings in southern Saskatchewan. It is the only shopping centre to have a Hudson’s Bay anchor store, and is the only shopping centre in southern Saskatchewan to boast retailers such as H&M, Sephora, Lululemon and Eddie Bauer. The two-level H&M store was considered to be a major coup for the centre when it opened in March of 2018.
At the same time, Cornwall Centre recently saw several store closures as the market shifts and locals frequent suburban retail centres. In December of 2018, Roots closed its only Regina location at Cornwall Centre, and the Gap and Gap Kids closed in January of this year. Last year, as well, the mall lost Sears as one of its two anchors — the landlord will repurpose the 123,000 square foot two-level space, with details to follow.
Cornwall Centre is the largest shopping centre in southern Saskatchewan with a gross lease area of nearly 575,000 square feet. Of that, more than 188,000 square feet is for smaller CRUs. The centre boasts about 1,200 parking spaces and has annual sales per square foot of about $620, according to Cushman & Wakefield leasing materials.
The Hudson’s Bay store spans 182,355 square feet, according to Cushman & Wakefield leasing materials. When the centre opened in 1981, Eaton’s occupied the space. In the year 2000, Hudson’s Bay vacated its standalone store about two blocks away to relocate in the shopping centre — the same happened in Saskatoon that year after Eaton’s declared bankruptcy a year before.
The Regina market is relatively small in comparison to other cities in Canada. The city’s population, including surrounding areas, is slightly more than 225,000.
Regina is a unique market in that its downtown core dominates the region’s best-in-class retail offerings. No other centre in the area boasts a similar roster of retailers such as Hudson’s Bay and H&M. Two suburban shopping centres, Southland Mall and Northgate Mall offer a range of typical mall retailers, though not of the same calibre as in the downtown Cornwall Centre. The city’s suburbs include several large big-box centres, as is typical in the Canadian prairie provinces.
Enhancing shopping centre food and beverage offerings is a priority for landlords across the country, as competition in some markets has centres competing head-to-head for consumer dollars. While Cornwall Centre’s food court offerings are of a more typical nature found in malls across the country, some landlords have been going further. That includes adding full-sized restaurants to some properties and more recently, large-format food halls and food markets. The Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Ontario, was the first suburban shopping centre in Canada to open a food hall on its premises, and this spring Square One in Mississauga unveiled ‘The Food District’, which sources say continues to be busy. We’ll continue to see more food halls opening in retail centres over the next several years, both in downtown areas and in suburban malls, and we’ll be reporting on the trend further this month in a separate article.