Calgary

Calgary mall chips away at massive space vacated by Sears in 2018

Some of the retail space created when Sears closed 2½ years ago at Calgary's Southcentre will be repurposed soon, the mall owners said Wednesday.

Dollarama, PetSmart and Winners will take about half the 235,000 square feet at Southcentre

Southcentre has struggled to find permanent tenants for the space since the Sears department store closed in January 2018. (Google Maps)

Some of the retail space created when Sears closed 2½ years ago at Calgary's Southcentre will be repurposed soon, the mall owners said Wednesday.

Dollarama, PetSmart and Winners will take over the first floor, filling roughly 100,000 square feet of the 235,000 square feet that was freed up when the iconic department store closed.

"We are the first shopping centre in Calgary to redevelop retail space of this scale in recent years," mall manager Jason Bos said in a release.

"These three new retailers deliver on this goal and reinforce Southcentre's reputation as an important, local shopping centre with strong community connections."

Dollarama should be complete in the fall while PetSmart and Winners are expected to open next spring. The upper floor could house up to five retailers to open in 2022.

A retail analyst says breaking up the space into smaller chunks makes sense today.

"They can probably collect more rent per square foot but it's going to cost money to repurpose that space for those smaller retailers," Craig Patterson of Retail Insider told CBC News.

"They are great retailers in their own right but at the same time those retailers can be found elsewhere. I wouldn't consider them to be unique."

Customers have lined up for stores like Winners, even during a global pandemic.

The Southcentre Sears closed in January 2018 after the parent company sought creditor protection.

"They may have gotten a good deal because that space has sat vacant for more than two years" Patterson said.

Roughly 150 jobs are expected to be created with the three stores along with 200 positions during the construction phase.

Southcentre opened in 1974.

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