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Builders mulling mall makeovers Continued from page 15 RioCan has jumped on the redevelopment bandwagon in a big way. In addition to its plans to tear down Lincoln Fields and rebuild it, the mall owner is also looking at erecting as many as five mixed-use towers beside the Westgate shopping centre that would feature retail space and hundreds of residential units. In addition, it’s proposing a major makeover of Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre that would see as many as seven new buildings with nearly 600 residential units added to the St. Laurent Boulevard site. RioCan chief executive Jonathan Gitlin recently told OBJ that although its retail properties are still thriving, with a 97 per cent overall occupancy rate across Canada, the company can’t afford to get complacent. Redeveloping its malls is just one component of its long-term strategy to reinvent itself, he added.

He said the firm, which owns about 44 million square feet of retail space across Canada, is looking to add more “servicerelated” businesses such as gyms and doctor’s offices to its tenant mix as a way to attract customers. “I think we’re doing a number of things to ensure that we have relevant retail,” he said. “One of those is changing the types of tenants that we have in our buildings. Part of is building mixed-use (developments), where we urbanize, modernize and bring residential (units) to our retail sites.” Nabatian is a fan of RioCan’s new approach. “The best solution for them ... is to have highrise rentals, even sometimes condominiums, as close to the shopping centres as possible,” he says. Back at Lincoln Fields, Nagy says she isn’t sure exactly what her future holds. But she’s almost certain that whatever her next venture is, it won’t be based at a mall. “I’m taking a break now,” she says. “I really don’t think I would ever go into a shopping centre (again).”

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Ottawa Business Journal August 2019  

Ottawa's authoritative source of business news, covering tech, tourism, real estate and other key economic sectors in Canada's capital.

Ottawa Business Journal August 2019  

Ottawa's authoritative source of business news, covering tech, tourism, real estate and other key economic sectors in Canada's capital.