Not all residents buying new centre’s plans

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“Really, another Tim Hortons?”

That was St. Albert resident Julie Demott’s initial reaction to the latest site plan for the Erin Ridge Shopping Centre.

The latest list of retailers has been receiving mixed reviews on social media since it was posted to the Community of St. Albert Facebook page last week, with some heralding the arrival of North American arts and crafts retail chain Michaels, while others lamented the introduction of yet another hardware store and the proliferation of fast-food along the Trail.

Dated September 2015, the site plan developed by Cameron Development Corporation, the developer for the site, shows the following confirmed tenants: Lowe’s, Shell, Panda Express, GNC, Michaels, PetSmart, Binh’s Nails, Jayden Salon, Sally Beauty Supply and Zig Zag Tailor – in addition to the previously announced RBC, A&W, Dairy Queen, Starbucks and Tim Hortons.

An unidentified dentist and veterinary clinic will also be moving into the new development.

Many residents expressed frustration at the plan, stating that most tenants were duplicates of services and products already offered elsewhere in the city.

The site plan leaves three of the major gaps identified by the city’s 2013 Retail Market Analysis – the need for clothing stores, home furnishing stores and restaurants – unfilled. Many residents were quick to reiterate the need for these business types after viewing the plan on Facebook.

“Ugh, more fast food and hardware stores. Great, just what we need,” wrote Natalie Trinh on Facebook. “Can we not get some decent stores in St. Albert? Maybe a Gap/Gap Kids, Simons, Carters/Oshgosh, HMV, Lululemon … Bring more economy into St. Albert rather than us all spending our money in Edmonton.”

Others, who reside on the outskirts of town, were happy with what they saw.

Kim Martineau, who lives on an acreage past the Costco, excitedly posted that all the confirmed retailers will be useful to her family, as well as others who come from out of town to shop.

“Fantastic way to bring in business to St. Albert,” she wrote.

More than a few residents, including Demott, were excited to see that Michaels was moving in. “Our very own Michaels! No more quick trips into Edmonton for urgently needed craft supplies,” wrote Ruth Oldham Vivian on Facebook.

Marian Mocanu was disappointed that a movie theatre was not included in the site plan. It was rumoured that Cineplex might return to St. Albert more than a decade after shutting its doors.

A movie theatre is one of the services identified in the retail study, with three per cent of respondents indicating the need for one in the community. Currently film patrons from St. Albert and Sturgeon County must travel to the Cineplex on 137 Street in Edmonton.

“I think we can support it,” said Mocanu. “This Costco, I think, has been the No. 1 example. It’s one of the busiest and obviously it serves the northern communities too. They love not having to go all the way to 149 Street. I bet with a movie theatre the northern communities would be on par with that.”

When asked if a movie theatre was considered for the Erin Ridge Shopping Centre, Trevor Fitzgerald, manager of business development for Cameron Developments said, “All prospective retail options are always explored.” He could not comment on why Cineplex was not interested in their development.

The Gazette reached out to Cineplex’s corporate office, but did not hear back before the time of publication.

There are still 10 spaces, ranging from 1,200-square-feet and upward, available for lease. More retailers will be announced in the coming months.

The newest wave of tenants is expected to move in between spring and summer 2016.

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Michelle Ferguson