Saskatchewan

Market vendors pleased after U-Haul deal for former Regina Sears outlet cancelled

Matt Thompson said he got the call that the U-haul deal had fallen through on the day U-Haul was supposed to take possession.

'We're going to take full advantage of being more secure in the space for a long while yet,' the market said

Three Regina artists teamed up to transform this escalator at the old Sears Outlet store into a work of art. (Matt Howard/CBC)

Matt Thompson got the phone call on Nov. 6, the day U-haul was supposed to take possession of the former Centennial Shopping Centre in Regina.

Thompson is a vendor and one of the people who run the Centennial Market in the building. 

"They aren't sure what happened. But U-Haul is no longer buying the building, and that's all," Thompson said. 

Regina city council had voted on Aug. 26 to approve a zoning amendment and discretionary use applications that would allow U-Haul International to buy and renovate the building, which used to house a Sears outlet store.

"After careful consideration, U-Haul concluded the Centennial Shopping Centre location was not ideal for our self-storage product at this time," Ryan Pearson, president of the U-Haul Company of Central Canada, said in a statement.

"We will continue to consider potential retail and self-storage locations in Regina and surrounding communities as they become available."

Pearson said people can still rent trucks and trailers at other small businesses in the city. 

U-Haul had originally proposed to buy the former Sears Outlet store in Regina. (AP)

Thompson said he wasn't surprised that U-haul isn't taking possession. The company had already pushed the original possession date back a month and was very vague on details, Thompson said.

Now the building is back for sale and the market is back in the same limbo as before, Thompson said. 

"Which we're okay with," Thompson said. "We're going to take full advantage of being more secure in the space for a long while yet."

Matt Thompson said the vendors were relieved when U-Haul didn't buy the building as there were a lot of details missing from the future plan. (Trent Peppler / CBC Saskatchewan)

He said other vendors were relieved to hear the news.

"There was a lot of stress because we didn't have any details about what would happen after it took possession," he said. "Everyone is a little bit more happy and excited about it."

Thompson hopes they can secure a two or three year lease agreement with the current owners to prevent the same nervous feelings as when U-haul came along. 

He said that there has been talk about buying the building in the future, but that the market is still just starting out. 

The Centennial Market created 'The Arts' in the back area of the mall. Matt Thompson said he would like to see the space become a place that artists could hold exhibits. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Thompson said the market could grow to be a tourist destination on par with the Forks in Winnipeg or Granville Island if he knew the location would be secure.

In the short term, Thompson hopes to make sure people know the market is still open. 

"There was a large drop in attendance pretty much directly after all of the previous news interviews with U-haul buying the building," he said. 

About the Author

Heidi Atter

AP/Journalist

Heidi Atter is a journalist working in Regina. She started with CBC Saskatchewan after a successful internship and has a passion for character-driven stories. Heidi has worked as a reporter, web writer, associate producer and show director so far, and has worked in Edmonton, at the Wainwright military base, and in Adazi, Latvia. Story ideas? Email heidi.atter@cbc.ca.

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