A shopper's Paradise: Breaking ground on new $25M retail centre

Shoppers Drug Mart, Starbucks, Dollarama, East Side Mario's, and more retailers to come.

New shops near Octagon Pond expected to open by spring 2019

By spring 2019, this lot in Paradise will have retailers like Shoppers Drug Mart and Starbucks. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

There's a new outdoor shopping centre coming to Paradise, with retailers like Shoppers Drug Mart and Dollarama, plus a Starbucks and East Side Mario's.

Ground was officially broken at the centre, operated by ALRE Properties, on Tuesday.

Along with big name tenants, the $25-million shopping plaza also comes with big promises of jobs to come.

"Once the seven buildings are up and the stores are occupied, we're looking at anywhere between 400 and 500 full and part-time jobs for the area," said ALRE president Roberto Di Giorgio.

A sketch of one of the seven buildings set to be built. The developer has promised 'natural materials' to complement the surrounding area. (Submitted by Alre Properties Inc.)

Once completed, the development will be 90,000-square feet in all, with more tenants expected to be announced in September.

The new centre will be in the spot previously occupied by ACAN Windows and Doors, which backs on Octagon Pond. The area was first developed for industrial purposes back in 1951.

'Milestone' for Paradise

"The redevelopment of this property is an important milestone for the Town of Paradise and we are pleased to welcome ALRE Properties to our town," Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett said in a press release.

"Today we are starting a new chapter in that history. The redevelopment of this site as a major business area for Paradise brings significant economic benefits to the town and to the entire region."

Bobbett said the development is tentatively named Paradise Plaza.

ALRE said it took into account the esthetics of the area around Octagon Pond, using natural materials to complement the surrounding area. 

"We didn't come to Paradise to build a cookie cutter shopping centre," said Di Giorgio.

As part of the project, the stream between Neil's Pond and Octagon Pond is being restored to protect the habitat for plant and wildlife, particularly spawning brown trout, ALRE said in a release.

The centre, which is ALRE's first Atlantic Canadian project, is estimated to be completed in December, with first stores opening in the spring of 2019.

New service jobs

Memorial University business professor Tom Cooper told CBC that though the development was good economic news for Paradise overall, it was important to look at the kinds of jobs that were being brought into the community.

"That used to be a manufacturing plant. So there's a difference between manufacturing jobs and service-level jobs," he said. "The service sector traditionally doesn't pay as well."

Tom Cooper, a business professor at Memorial University, told CBC he was encouraged by the quality of the tenants who are moving in. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

Cooper says despite that, he sees the arrival of the development as good news for the town.

"The building that was there was empty since 2015. So going and putting something that fits the area and has some really good anchor tenants going in, I think is a real positive for Paradise and for that whole area," he said.

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