While I agree with your assessment of what will happen to the upper mall, and with the impending lack of nighttime pull in particular, it was not that the cinemas were cancelled so much as it was that no cinema chain was willing to lease the space. After years of no-one coming on board to present films, it makes sense—unfortunately, for the reasons you outlined—that they retooled the space for a commercial office tenant.The buildings are fine - everything will look good once it's finished.
My biggest concern is some of the decisions made regarding the leasing / programming of the space. I think losing the movie theatre and leasing a major retail space to Sweat and Tonic /Konrad was a really poor decision, and it's going to result in a big dead zone on the second floor of the mall. What reason would anyone have to come up here? If you don't work at Konrad or if you're not a bougie gym rat, this part of the mall will basically be off limits. The theatre would have drawn late night traffic into the heart of the retail concourse, but now it's just going to be a desolate passive space with a gym and office entrance.View attachment 336133
While I agree with your assessment of what will happen to the upper mall, and with the impending lack of nighttime pull in particular, it was not that the cinemas were cancelled so much as it was that no cinema chain was willing to lease the space. After years of no-one coming on board to present films, it makes sense—unfortunately, for the reasons you outlined—that they retooled the space for a commercial office tenant.
more targeted towards the grocery thoughAs Mr. 42 and others stated, most of the need has been fulfilled through different buildings around the site (Farm Boy, Loblaw's x2, Sobeys, Longos) but I would like to give a little more insight into the changes to the retail layouts from the original proposal to now (sorry this is a little late).
Riocan originally wanted to (somewhat) replicate the ideas from Empress Walk here, like including a movie theatre and grocery store, albeit in a different format, but the addition of their building partners and the architects hired, the idea for the retail here turned to a direction more often seen in European developments. That also doesn't mention their Queen West build that now houses a full sized Loblaw's was being built around the same time, so the idea for a true grocery store slowly fizzled.
There could technically be a smaller grocer, but there are a few complications with that:
1. The Wellington Market undermines any high end grocer to make good sales on premade options. (that is not to knock the market, I'm very excited for it as it'll be unique for the area and it's one of the most interesting parts of this development. )
2. Shoppers will provide the small amount of necessary items to people that live in the immediate area.
So there is not much of a niche that is left for them to target.
I will express a bit of disappointment to the current leasing strategy, some of the larger spaces have been picked up and either amalgamated into office space, or the sweat and tonic (which took up what was originally to be a higher end market but was then turned into five individual spaces). While it's nice to see it leased, I would've rather had there be more smaller spaces and variety.
The original scheme:
View attachment 314251
The current leases:
Konrad takes two larger format spaces, along with sweat and tonic taking an entire podium. This may create dead zones that could've been avoided by not putting office space in what is presumed to be retail space (to the end user).
View attachment 314253
I presume they're planning to build something on top of that? It seems very discombobulated from the rest of the design by itself.First part of formwork being removed at approximately 4 storey tall leaning diagonal columns at building D residential building.