By SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
A 100,000-square-foot expansion at the Timmins Square is waiting for a green light from the municipality.
The retail expansion will include a 25,000-square-foot Winners clothing outlet and a 15,000-square-foot Sport Chek athletic store.
“We have heard nothing but positive comments from customers since we attracted both of those retailers to Timmins,” says Brenda Johnson, Timmins Square general manager.
The expansion leaves room for pad development in the front of the building. There will be two 5,000-square-foot pad sites located at the east and west ends of the parking lot. There have been no deals finalized for occupants as of yet.
The other 50,000 square feet will be made up of smaller retail units. The spaces are not leased as of yet.
“At the end of the day, we will end up with six to eight new tenants.”
Riocan Real Estate Investment Trust is waiting for approval from the city to go ahead with the expansion.
“We could start construction by as early as spring,” says an optimistic Johnson.
With the expansion, Johnson hopes to draw more people into the city for their retail needs.
“Thirty per cent of our business comes from outside the City of Timmins, so by having Winners and Sport Chek it will increase that market share.”
Johnson says the whole community, not just the mall, could benefit from the expansion by bringing more people into the city.
“The expansion will benefit the hotels, restaurants and the downtown core.”
Johnson says they are making sure their existing tenants are not competing head to head with the new stores.
“We are making sure existing businesses have specialty lines that Winners or Sport Chek do not carry.”
Johnson states the retail economy in Timmins is fair, but is optimistic about the future.
“We have a lot of confidence our numbers will increase and this expansion shows Riocan’s commitment to Timmins.”
If approved, Johnson expects the redevelopment of the mall and the land to go smoothly.
“Riocan is very experienced in redevelopment because they are doing it across Canada.”
As of Nov. 29, 2002, Riocan had a total of 169 properties in Canada, including 111 in Ontario alone. Riocan has 4,252 tenants operating in 26,565,824 square feet of space.