Published on October 18, 2016 | by Austen Demerling Photography by Austen Demerling4
Woodbine Centre to get facelift for community, students
A new look is on the horizon for Woodbine Centre and Fantasy Fair.
According to the project overview by real estate broker Marino Locations Limited, the game plan is to build new condo towers near the property, add new anchor stores and new restaurants.
“We’re just trying to make it more modern, up-to-date, bringing in hopefully
Wi-Fi, TV screens for the customers,” said Chris Couch, marketing coordinator at Woodbine Centre.
Couch said the needs of the nearby student population are being considered.
“Part of the renovation is definitely bringing in ‘A’ level stores to bring in the younger people,” Couch said.
Currently there are no big name fashion retailers at the mall that would appeal to students. Stores like H&M, The Gap and Zara are absent. There isn’t even a bookstore or a music store.
“It’s a pretty dead area,” said Klara Kabelik, a third-year psychology student at the University of Guelph-Humber. “It’s nice that they’re upgrading it because it’ll bring in more revenue and it’ll make it more attractive to the students and families living around the area.”
Louis Maalouf, who looks after leasing at the mall, said that Woodbine “has not taken the needs of the students adequately.” The mall hopes to bring in some new stores before the new year, and students “will have no need to go anywhere but to Woodbine Mall,” said Maalouf.
The mall is currently anchored by Sears, The Bay and Rainbow Cinemas, the closest movie theatre to the school and one of the mall’s biggest draws for students. The Fantasy Fair is the busiest part of the mall, with attractions for families with young children like theme park rides and new animatronic dinosaurs, which were installed this summer ahead of schedule.
Renovations are being carried out overnight, allowing the mall to remain open without interruptions, said Maalouf.
Located on Rexdale Boulevard at Highway 27, Woodbine Centre opened in 1985 and serves an immediate trade area of 180,000 people, according to the project overview on the Marino website. This includes the Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber campuses.