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Sault waterfront mall transformation to begin with million-dollar store makeover

New tenants for Northern Ontario's second largest mall permitted to renovate space vacated by Sears
Work crews on the roof of Station Mall last year

A store renovation valued at almost $1 million is poised to kick off a long-awaited rebirth of Station Mall in Sault Ste. Marie.

A $950,000 building permit for interior renovations for an Urban Planet and Forever 21 store was the largest of 113 permits issued by the City of Sault Ste. Marie in April.

The new store is expected to join other retailers and food services in the two-storey former Sears location, which closed in October 2017.

Urban Planet has more than 100 stores across Canada including outlets in Timmins, Sudbury and North Bay.

It was one of the largest retailers in Cambrian Mall before it closed its doors there last fall.

Forever 21 is a newcomer to Sault Ste. Marie — a Los Angeles-based fast-fashion retailer that targets young Gen Z consumers with low-priced apparel that moves at warp speed from sketch designs to retail racks to ensure the latest styles.

New collections are continuously refreshed and purchasers of fast-fashion items sometimes discard their clothes after a few wearings, resulting in a heavy carbon footprint.

Forever 21 makes extensive use of collaborations with designers and influencers.

SooToday's Alex Flood reported last November on plans for a $60-million revitalization of the half-century-old Station Mall, the second-largest shopping mall in Northern Ontario.

At that time, as many as a dozen condominium towers were proposed in parking area near the former Sears and Walmart stores.

Meanwhile, the second-largest local building permit issued last month was to replace a roofing membrane and repair skylights, glazing and exterior precast panels at the Ontario Forest Research Institute at 1235 Queen Street East.

The 113 building permits issued in April had a combined construction value of $7.3 million, comparable to the same period last year.

Other projects of interest included:

  • 117 new dwelling units valued at a total of $42.1 million;
  • another security fence at the old Sault Area Hospital, valued at $125,000;
  • a $165,000 pre-engineered cold storage steel building at 114 Allens Side Road;
  • installation of $66,000 worth of weeping tiles in the basement at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 114 MacDonald Ave.; and
  • $60,000 to repair an exterior gym wall damaged by vehicle impact at the Salvation Army church, 670 John St.

Year-to-date, the city has issued 249 building permits worth a total of  $67.2 million, compared to 226 permits worth $34.3 million last year.

— SooToday