GALLERY| Windsor Arena to become urban mall

A developer will spend up to $12 million to convert Windsor Arena into an urban mall and market called 'The Barn.'

'The Barn' to get $12-million makeover into mall and market

Another chapter for the historic Windsor arena is about to be written.

'The Barn' has been around since 1924.

It will be transformed into an urban mall with a farmers' market, as long as an agreement with the city is finalized.

Leigh Anne King and her husband and business partner, James, are going to spend up to $12 million on converting the arena into a shopping destination.

They say Windsor Arena is a perfect location. It will be transformed into a glass-and-open concept urban mall.

"It keeps the spirit alive of the barn," James King said. "It's been there and I think it should stay here."

The facility will also be called 'The Barn' to honour the arena's past.

The arena was home to the Spitfires until 2008. The Lancers' men's hockey team has been using it since then.

But recently, the university indicated it did not want to take over the building.

Councillor Fulvio Valentinis supports the name.

"I think it's fantastic. It's great everyone will know [what you mean] when you talk about going to 'The Barn,'" Valentinis said. "When I visited Grand Rapids years ago, they had a building they called 'Bob' which stood for big old building and it was just a big old building which had been rejuvenated. I see this the same way ... 'The Barn' is a very historic nostalgic name that we can relate to with fond memories."

Mayor Eddie Francis says a deal with King Development should be in place within a month.

"The city will be turning over the Windsor Arena in one form or another for a very nominal rate. Whether that is a full out transfer or a lease, that's what we'll work on in the next three to four weeks," Francis said.

Work on converting the arena into an urban mall is expected to start in the spring and be finished in time for Christmas.

The Kings say they have interested tenants, but won't name them.