The first part of the expansion of the Prairie Mall is expected to open in a little over a week. General Manager Lionel Frey says the tentative date for Urban Planet to open its doors is August 3rd. He adds that will be followed by Marshalls on August 22nd.
“Those two spaces occupy about 45,000 square feet and we’re in negotiations to fill the rest of the spaces, but those are the ones we have confirmed.”
The former Target building was vacated on April 8, 2015, when the company pulled the plug on its Canadian expansion after less than two years. While major companies Lowe’s, Walmart, and Canadian Tire picked up some of the locations, the Grande Prairie spot was left behind.
“The goal was obviously always to try to fill that space, so after two years we’re definitely eager to see some development there,” says Frey.
The mall decided to change course, and is renovating the 112,000 square foot space into room for at least 12 retailers. Frey believes signing on the larger stores of Urban Planet and Marshalls will get the ball rolling.
“Our focus is to fill the bigger spaces and the thinking was, once we did that, we would have a lot of the other spaces filled shortly after and I think that’s a reasonable plan.”
The empty stores will be covered by a temporary barrier with graphics so the area doesn’t look too bare for customers. Frey adds that he doesn’t think it will take too long to get more shops.
“We are in negotiations with a variety of retailers so hopefully later this fall and next spring we’ll start to see more and more openings in that wing.”
He says they’ll likely be national brand names, rather than local, independent businesses. Contractors are expected to hand over the Urban Planet space over the next week, at which point much of the staging area for construction in the parking lot should be cleaned up.