Triovest Realty Advisors Inc., the LloydMall landlord, expects to firm up retail plans and tenants for the former Sears store by this summer.
The final liquidation of all Sears locations in Canada on Jan. 15, including the closure of the LloydMall store last fall, opened the door for new tenants to lease approximately 40,000 sq. ft. of available space in Lloydminster.
“We continue to market it and we’ve actually had a number of inquiries to date—no deals done yet, so I can’t divulge names and things like that,” said John Crombie, Triovest’s senior vice-president of retail leasing.
He did say most of the inquiries have been from regional and national brands due to the size of available space with multiple tenants likely to be selected.
“With the way we’ve had inquiries, I suspect we might know something by the summer,” said Crombie.
“It does take a long time to fill blocks of space like that, and it’s not only doing the deal, it’s constructing.
“Don’t forget we would have to create more corridors down there and do other stuff with the space.”
Crombie said they will likely divide the area into three of four units with the preference to include a spacious anchor retailer to draw people in to shop.
“We’re likely going to be splitting it,” he said, possibly into a few 12,500 sq. ft. spaces and probably 20,000 sq. ft. or so for a larger tenant.
He said Triovest thinks that’s the right mix for what Lloyd wants.
“We had an anchor there and we’d like to continue to have some sort of anchor or larger tenants there— that’s important for a centre,” he said.
He said Triovest is seeing real growth in the Canadian market these days in off-price retailers, citing Ashley HomeStore as an example.
Triovest leased more than half the space in its vacated Sears store at the Skyview Power Centre in Edmonton to Ashley that sells furniture.
Ashley is the type of new retailer that Crombie says is helping to fill a gap at former Target and Sears locations in Canada.
“It is the flavour right now in terms of expansion like TJX Companies’ stores like Winners and Marshalls that have been quite active across the country both in Target locations, and I think as well as furniture locations,” said Crombie.
“Sears was quite big in the appliance and furnishing type of business, so things like an Ashley are seeing advantages of being part of that as well.”
Crombie said once the space has been leased at LloydMall, modifications to the building can begin.
“It’s like doing a puzzle—you work with these retailers and they all have their prototypical sizes and you try to work with theirs to fit into what works for us, so it’s a bit of a push pull in terms of negotiations,” he explained.
“If anyone would be ready to go (open) by November or December it would be great for us and great for the retailer, so we would target for that, but announcing in the summer would be ideal if we could.”