A work in progress: City Centre Mall to undergo redevelopment project

As the downtown landscape changes, Edmonton’s City Centre Mall is adapting to new consumer trends and could be getting a facelift.

Renderings of the potential redevelopment appeared online. When contacted by CTV News Edmonton, a representative from City Centre said the renderings were accidentally released online early and have not been finalized.

Puneeta McBryan, with the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, is excited about the prospective renovations.

“It’s a really critical time,” McBryan said. “It’s City Centre, but also a bunch of other businesses are rethinking how they’re oriented, how they use their platform, and also how to attract tenants.”

The mall lost its anchor tenant Hudson’s Bay last fall.

McBryan added that the experience consumers are looking for when shopping today has completely changed and now malls and shopping centres are trying to adapt.

“The street front and sidewalk experience is huge right now,” she said. “People don’t want to be in enclosed spaces and in mall hallways anymore. They want to feel apart of the action and feel like we are reclaiming public space in a new way.

“We’ve come to realize that we really appreciate that community hub, energetic feeling,” McBryan said.

While many have been complaining about the construction phase downtown is experiencing, McBryan said the payoff will be worth it. Alongside City Centre’s proposed project there is Valley Line LRT construction, Ice District development, and Jasper Avenue revitalization.

“You can expect to see some more creative and innovative uses (of downtown space),” McBryan shared. “You can definitely a much better pedestrian experience across downtown.”

Coun. Scott McKeen says a new look is finally taking shape for Edmonton’s downtown and the facelift for City Centre could help draw further interest into the area.

“We ignored downtown for decades,” McKeen said. “It’s critical for the new owners to open it up.

“Experiential shopping is the new term,” he added. “If you want to sell stuff, you need to give people a reason to come. You can’t just offer them the same stuff they can buy online.”

On top of the shift in consumers’ expectations, McKeen believes downtown is moving towards becoming more of a residential space as more condos and apartment complexes rise up.

“It’s getting better every year,” the city councillor said. “I think if you squint your eyes and look five to 10 years down the road, I think we’re going to have a fantastic downtown.”