Tenant found for former Sears store in Bonnie Doon mall

The company that owns the Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre plans to announce the tenant that will move into the former Sears store in the next four to six weeks.

Morguard expects to announce tenant's name within the next six weeks

A conceptual drawing of a proposed garden district, looking west, in Bonnie Doon. (Morguard)

The company that owns Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre plans to announce the tenant that will move into the former Sears store in the next four to six weeks.

The Sears store closed more than a year ago.

The new tenant — focused on education and wellness — will draw more than 1,000 people per day to the mall, said Margaret Knowles, senior vice-president of development at Morguard Investments Ltd., the Toronto-area real estate company that owns the mall.

Boonie Doon gets a makeover. We get the inside scoop on the plan to revamp Edmonton's Bonnie Doon mall. 8:12

Mall plans revealed

The company has proposed to rezone the land the mall sits on and turn the area into a mixed-use, transit-oriented development that includes 6,000 new homes. That would take 20 to 30 years.

Morguard's most recent proposal for the 12-hectare property and surrounding area divides the space into five districts:

  • Commercial district with possible office space;
  • Health and wellness district;
  • Boutique and "central park" district with retail;
  • Retail and entertainment district with a transit plaza, and;
  • Garden district with a residential focus.

The new development proposal includes a transit plaza. (Morguard)

The most recent proposal features parking, bike lanes, pedestrian paths, trees, "lush landscaping," a water feature and public gardens. Park pavilions could house restaurants, cafes and ice cream vendors.

"We certainly want to turn it from sad to ecstatic," Knowles said Wednesday on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

She said the mall, at 8420 85th St., would remain open during construction.

Density debate

A report released last month by Morguard included a variety of comments from people who gave feedback on previous plans. Comments on density and architecture yielded mixed responses, with some supporting higher density development and others criticizing highrise buildings.

When asked about local residents' opinions on highrises in their neighbourhood, Knowles said feedback has been "incredibly supportive."

"The big thing that we hear from people is they want to live in their neighbourhood," she said, adding, "there aren't a lot of choices right now."

There was a drop-in public engagement session Wednesday night at La Cité Francophone, 8627 91st St.

The city has said there will be at least one more drop-in event in the fall.

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