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Shops at Waterloo Town Square
(09-08-2015, 12:08 AM)TMKM94 Wrote:
(09-07-2015, 09:34 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: Even more empty store fronts in the Shops today. I wonder what is their ultimate objective?
There is actually less empty store fronts then there were in the past few years. Since Last fall Carl's Jr. Famosa pizzeria, Abe &Erb, Nugatt Bakery, Rogers, Koodo, and Vape for life(vapour cigarette store) have opened.

I don't think this is the case on the mall side. While Kodoo and Vape are real openings, all other were direct substitutions, and since then several stores as well as a Matter of Taste closed. I think this is the most empty stores I've seen in the last three years.
(09-08-2015, 12:08 AM)TMKM94 Wrote: Famosa pizzeria, Abe &Erb
Neither of those are in the square itself.

Quote: I think if a Dollarama Opened up in the mall there would be very little to no vacancies.
At one time the mall anchor was a (RIP) Liquidation World so nothing would surprise me. But a Dollarama hardly seems congruent with the high-end, high-income, high-tech image that (I would imagine) the City of Waterloo and Uptown are trying to project.

My question: Anyone know what is agenda for the square and the mall now that the new owners have had a couple of years to digest their purchase? Seems a shame to "waste" the space on the likes of a Dollarama.
I'm certain the owners' plan is to find a solid tenant for the space (it was K-Mart in the early days, when it was just plain Waterloo Square). But easier said than done, even if they have some ideas for a good tenant, they would need to convince the company in question to either move from another K-W location, or open a new store.

It's a waiting game. And I'm sure this challenge was reflected in the price when they purchased the mall.
The Shops at WTS needs to be demolished. At least the mall. UNLESS, a high density development is built directly adjacent to it, the mall model is dead, especially in a downtown. There are specific exceptions, like Toronto's underground shops, which are successful only due to density and the Canadian winters, or when malls are regional attractions (Yorkdale), but otherwise: malls are dead, and this is happening all over North America.
Their best shot is to make pedestrian streets (possible covered) and convert the mall into part of the getting on and off the LRT experience. There would be a ton of traffic and plenty of business opportunities. It also needs 30+ stories of office/residential space on top.
(09-10-2015, 09:00 PM)insider Wrote: The Shops at WTS needs to be demolished.

Maybe.  And maybe it can't ever be successful.  And yet it's not our decision, or even the city's: as long as the owner wants to work on the current concept, it's their property, their money, their opportunity cost.

Can it work better with the LRT?  Absolutely.  The LRT will benefit Waterloo Square much more than it will benefit Conestoga Mall or Fairview Mall, which will probably only see a tiny improvement.  The LRT will bring Waterloo Square much closer to Kitchener core residents, and if they have the right tenants in the mall, Waterloo Square can grab a non-trivial share of the shopping revenues.  (I say forget bringing in another discount store, find a way to use that space for smaller shops and/or restaurants.)

And if they are successful with this, they can convert some of the parking areas (LRT shoppers don't need parking) to expand and improve the shopping.  Maybe even to integrate it better with King Street.
(09-10-2015, 09:54 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: Their best shot is to make pedestrian streets (possible covered) and convert the mall into part of the getting on and off the LRT experience. There would be a ton of traffic and plenty of business opportunities. It also needs 30+ stories of office/residential space on top.

Definitely covered. It’s absurd that malls are considered “dead” given our weather. What better pedestrian experience could there be than a fully weather-protected, pedestrian-only street? That is what a mall corridor is, or could be.

The problem with malls is the lack of connection from the mall to nearby destinations. The stores within the mall are well connected to each other, but to get to anything else (in many cases, even some of the stores on the same property), one has to cross a huge expanse of parked cars. There are also issues with the “streets” being privately owned and with, in effect, an entire shopping district being owned by one landlord.

I see a lot of anti-mall stuff that in effect is blaming the roof for other problems.

Getting back to WTS, the new buildings along King, south of Willis Way, should have been built far enough back that King St. would have room for both LRT tracks. There should have been two sidewalks, one a normal exterior sidewalk, the other incorporated into the buildings and at least covered, maybe even enclosed. Up where the Northbound LRT stop will be, I would have had both directions stop indoors, next to a daylighted Laurel Creek. Note that for this part I’m not sure exactly how much stuff I’m proposing changing all at once: as far as I’m concerned the part about the buildings on King St. is just pointing out an error in what was done, but I don’t know exactly where the creek runs or how hard it would be to adjust it and how much existing building would have to be elsewhere so that part might really be impractical starting from any recent historical reality.
Beyond the physical footprint of the WTS, what else did the new owners get? I seem to recall that the parking lot north of the train tracks is owned by the City. From another discussion that I recall about where the WTS owners could put bike racks, I don't know if there is any space north of Willis Way that they could expand. Between the heavy freight and the LRT, any expansion north will be difficult.

Any renovation or rebuilding would have to figure out where to put Shoppers and Valumart in the interim. I can't imagine that Loblaw would be keen to be moved out given that they have a lock on grocery and pharmacy in the area.
Like it or not, for retail in KW easy parking is a necessity.
doesn't the "Shops" include down to the LCBO as well? I would assume that means there is some of the parking in the back. If that is all the case, then there is significant land there...
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