Leasing activity in the past year has been very brisk for Primaris REIT’s Sherwood Park Mall property, just outside of Edmonton, leading to increased foot traffic and excitement about the shopping centre’s future.
Rebecca Quinn, Marketing Manager, Sherwood Park Mall, said eyewear retailer Specsavers has been one of several key retailers that have opened in the shopping centre in the past year. Their first store in Alberta opened in late August.
“It’s a great offering. We’re a community-based property so I think it will really appeal to our community,” she said.
Also opening in the past year have been Safeway Liquor Store, Best Buy, New York Fries, clothing retailer Boathouse, Shaw and local business Mud Sweat and Gears.
“Mud Sweat and Gears is a local, very well-known bike retailer, and they’ve opened this summer in our former Montana’s (restaurant) location. The transformation through their renovations has been amazing.” added Quinn.
The mall is celebrating 50 years of existence this year with just under 400,000 square feet of retail space over one level and roughly 85 tenants. And Seana Almer, General Manager, said the mall currently is sitting at about 90 per cent occupied.
The mall is located in an established area of Sherwood Park, just east of the City of Edmonton.
Almer said another big and exciting thing taking place at the shopping centre is a $4-million Cineplex renovation that was sidelined due to COVID.
“That finally started. They’re retrofitting all 10 auditoriums with the recliner seating. Work started (in August) and they’re expecting to have them all done by Christmas. We actually announced that about six weeks before COVID hit and it’s been shelved until this year. So we’re super excited about that and excited to offer that to our community.
“Leasing’s has some great traction right now and there’s a lot of conversations going on which is really wonderful but nothing that’s ready to be shared,” added Almer about future tenants to the property.
Quinn said the new tenants have created an increase in interest within the community.
“We’re still coming out of the pandemic. We’ve been seeing traffic numbers normalize and the New York Fries opening, I’m telling you, the excitement for that tenant was amazing,” she said.
“I think our Leasing team has worked hard to attract and diversify our tenant mix for our community. Sherwood Park Malls is showing great at 50! With our finished renovations and new additions, we are seeing people come back into the property with longer dwell times …it is a place to shop but also a place to gather. Strathcona County wants to shop local and with us offering a wider variety of tenants we hope to see continued growth in years to come.”
Almer said Sherwood Park Mall aims to listen and tries to meet the needs of the community.
“Edmonton is probably the most over-retailed landscape in the country. So we’re taking the opportunity to try and fit the needs of our community with the spaces we have available. For example the New York Fries deal was a long time coming for us because of other considerations, so the continuous work to improve the tenant mix has been a consistent goal for us,” she said.
“Best Buy has also been a game changer. (Retail Insider) did the article on the new format. That location, being able to offer the electronics piece for our community – when we didn’t have many options – I think it speaks to just looking at what the community needs and working hard with our leasing and tenant partners to fill those gaps.”
Almer added that Sherwood Park Mall provided retail stability in the community throughout the pandemic.
“At Sherwood Park Mall, we didn’t lose a single tenant because of COVID-related decisions. Primaris as a whole also worked really hard to maintain our tenancies and work with our partners. That’s a piece of the story that’s important to note because during COVID there were many stories circulating about the big, bad landlords. We’re not at all like that. We worked very hard to keep those partnerships alive and to keep the lights on in our centre and it’s a story that we’re really proud of.”