Saskatoon’s The Centre shopping mall gets makeover, new Cineplex

IMAGE: Artist's rendering of the renovated interior of The Centre shopping mall in Saskatoon. (Courtesy Morguard REIT)

Artist’s rendering of the renovated interior of The Centre shopping mall in Saskatoon. (Courtesy Morguard REIT)

The Centre shopping mall in Saskatoon is receiving a $43-million investment from owner Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust (MRC-T) for interior and exterior renovations, as well as systems upgrades.

The project follows two other major developments at the east-end facility, where a Cineplex is under construction and space vacated by Target is being repurposed.

“With work already taking place on Centre East with the Cineplex pad and redevelopment of the Target space, and the last update completed at the site in 1995 when the two shopping centres were connected by an underground connection, the timing of the modernization made sense to ensure we continue to provide a best-in-class experience,” said The Centre general manager David Bubnick.

“The next phase of our transformation will provide a fresh new look and an even more convenient, complete shopping experience for our guests.”

The Centre was built in 1972 at Eighth Street and Circle Drive. The mall contains more than 100 stores and is anchored by a Saskatoon Co-op grocery store, GoodLife Fitness, Best Buy, SportChek, Ardene and Shoppers Drug Mart.

The Centre is easy to access, with an on-site public transit hub, bicycle racks, 2,042 above-ground parking spaces, and two levels of underground parking with 400 heated stalls.

The Centre renovation project

Washroom renovations in Centre East are underway and will be completed next month.

The next phase of work will begin on Centre East in February. It will consist of removing the existing ceiling and replacing it with a new design, as well as adding energy-efficient lighting and introducing an updated colour scheme. Once that’s complete, the replacement of flooring will begin. This work is expected to be completed by late summer.

Once the Centre East work is done, ceiling work will start on Centre West, again followed by flooring. That phase is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2019.

A modernization of the food court will start in January 2020 and include new ceiling work followed by flooring and seating. Exterior entrances will be modernized, and building finishes completing the modernization project are tentatively expected to be finished during the summer of 2020.

A new guest services kiosk will be added in the walkway connecting Centre East and Centre West.

Cineplex, former Target and new retailers

The Centre will also be home to a new Cineplex pad operation this year. Development is underway and will add 30,000 square feet, bringing the mall’s total size to 513,277 square feet.

The Cineplexe will feature seven screens, including one UltraAVX theatre, a specially designed family auditorium and an Xscape Entertainment Centre. Six of the seven auditoriums will feature recliner seats.

The location of The Centre’s former Target store, which was vacated in 2015, will be further renovated and refitted to welcome new retailers this year and next.

“Over half of the previous Target space has already been refit and leased,” said Bubnick. “We welcomed a new Ardene superstore to the space in November 2017, while the GoodLife Fitness centre also expanded into the space.”

A new Below The Belt clothing store and Saskatchewan’s first Wetzel’s Pretzels will both open in The Centre this spring.

Bubnick said The Centre has seen year-over-year increases in rental rates and sales per square foot. The investment in renovations “is a testament to Morguard’s belief in the Saskatoon retail market and The Centre’s position as a leading shopping and entertainment destination in the community.”

Morguard owns 49 retail, office and industrial income-producing properties in Canada that have approximately 8.6 million square feet of leasable space.

Specialty leasing program

The Centre has a specialty leasing program in place which gives local retailers and up-and-coming businesses the opportunity to lease a short-term storefront location such as a pop-up shop, or a cart or kiosk in a common area.

Locally owned businesses including Twig & Bloom, SaskFit, Authentic Brave Apparel and NVUS Apparel had pop-up shops in The Centre last year, with tenancies ranging from four days to three months.

“This allows small businesses to be able to test their product, the market and customer response,” said Bubnick. “It’s important to have the right mix of national and local retailers to be able to meet our customers’ expectations and desire to have the best of both worlds.”

Sustainability initiatives

The Centre is BOMA BEST-certified, recognizing its excellence in energy and environmental management. Bubnick said the renovations will enhance the mall’s sustainability and environmental initiatives and reinforce a green mindset in employees, suppliers, tenants and partners.

“All common-area lighting will be replaced using energy-efficient LED. Modernization of the rooftop HVAC units will provide energy savings and a greener operation. Recycling stations will be placed conveniently for customers for paper, plastic and cans. The washroom renovation will use low-flow water closets, including motion activation on all water devices, water closets, sinks and urinals.”

Bins have been set up to recycle batteries, lights and paper products. The amount of paper and cardboard recycled in 2017 saved enough water to fill 13,685 water cooler bottles (which hold 18.5 litres apiece) and saved 2,654 trees. The amount of recyclables diverted from landfill totalled approximately 185,000 kilograms.

Approximately 250 metres of recycled carpet was installed in the link between Centre East and Centre West, resulting in the retirement of four tons of verified greenhouse gas emission reduction credits.

Other Saskatoon shopping centres

The Centre isn’t the first Saskatoon mall to undergo a major refurbishment in recent years. Here are three others:

Bayfield Realty Advisors spent millions on renovating Confederation Mall after acquiring a 70 per cent stake in it in 2014;

Cushman & Wakefield Asset Services is investing $80 million in renovations for the former Sears store in Midtown Plaza;

and Strathallen Capital Corp., which bought Market Mall in 2017, established a new community health centre in a space formerly occupied by a liquor store as part of changes in that facility.


Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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