Station Mall merchants waiting to hear from new owners

The chair of the Station Mall Merchants Association says news of the mall's sale to a southern Ontario holding company brings to a close years of uncertainty regarding the future of the property.

After being put up for sale in 2015, Algoma Central Corporation announced this week that the 555,000 square-foot shopping centre had been sold to southern Ontario-based SM International Holdings.

"I'm sure a lot of people were concerned and weren't sure what was going to actually happen in the end, but I think it’s all positive," says Rodger Rosset. "We're extremely busy and this just means now that we can move forward."

In addition to his duties as chair, Rosset is also co-owner of Savoy's Jewellers, a mall tenant of more than 40 years. He says he's excited to hear what the new owners have in store.

"The owners have just purchased the mall a week ago, so I can't expect too much yet," he said. "But I'm excited to see what they have planned for us moving forward."

Since 2017, Station Mall has lost two anchor stores – Sears and Walmart. Salvatore Marchese, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association, says the mall, which is not represented by his organization, is an important part of the neighbourhood and should be looking for another big tenant.

"I think the addition of an anchor store would help," said Marchese. "I think it's really important that we also try to maintain the businesses that have been there for years."

Marchese also believes the mall will need to reinvent itself in some way to remain viable.

"You've seen that, especially in Toronto at Yorkdale, it’s a staple example where they have changed how they operate every so often. And I think especially now, they’ve looked at how can we utilize some of the parking space, how can we update the facade, how can we make these destination places."

CTV News Northern Ontario reached out to the new owners of the mall for comment. They said they are not prepared to issue a statement at this time, but would likely be releasing one before the end of the week.