Stevenson welcomes more housing, however, saying the lack of residential space downtown “is a tension that has existed in the heart of our city for many years.”
Without an influx of new residents, McBryan says the mall will have to become a destination for people all over the city.
I think downtown has to be a really remarkable, interesting experience,” she says. “It has to be something that’s worth going out of your way for, that’s worth walking over to, that you’re going to take photos and share photos of the experience.”
The Downtown Business Association is trying to generate foot traffic by putting on events, organizing litter pickup teams and facilitating retail pop-ups and incubators, where retailers and food companies that have never had physical stores can set up rent-free for a few months, hopefully deciding at the end to find long-term leases.
But the key to bringing people back might come from the mall’s anchor tenant, the theatre complex on the top floor.
They have to think really seriously about entertainment being probably the biggest opportunity. Landmark Cinema has survived against all odds, it’s still busy,” McBryan says.
That’s been a huge reason for West Edmonton Mall’s success; fusing retail with entertainment.”
City Centre also houses Escape Hour, the city’s biggest escape room, and Kirk says he’s always looking to improve the mix of tenants – but he’s still betting retail will make a comeback.
Savvy AF. Blunt AF. Edmonton AF.