Walmart is getting ready to open its new Supercentre in St. Catharines and close its smaller Fairview Mall store later this summer after extensive construction work at The Pen Centre.
The new 10,800-square metre (120,000-square-foot) space in and around the former Target store will employ about 150 people.
Felicia Fefer, spokeswoman for Walmart Canada, said the Fairview Mall store will close when the Pen Centre location on Glendale Avenue opens. All associates at the Fairview Mall store on Geneva Street have been offered a job at the new store.
Another 40 in-store positions have been created with the conversion to the Supercentre, which will include fresh groceries along with general merchandise.
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Those roles include associates in bakery, deli, dairy and frozen departments as well as personal shoppers for online grocery order pickups. Fefer said by email the store is still looking to fill some of the positions and interested applicants can apply at walmart.ca.
The Pen Centre store is slated to have a grand opening later this summer, though no specific date was given.
There is no word yet on what will fill the Fairview Mall Walmart space.
Walmart has two other St. Catharines stores: on Welland Avenue at Bunting Road and on Vansickle Road at Fourth Avenue.
Fefer said the new Walmart will have a more contemporary look and feel with an updated colour palette and new signage.
Pen Centre manager John Bragagnolo said the mall is thrilled Walmart is going to be opening.
“They are one of the best retailers in the world and to have them join our family is incredible for us as a shopping centre, but also for our customers who mean the world to us,” he said.
Walmart announced in May 2015 that it was purchasing the former Target store, which closed earlier that year when the chain liquidated its Canadian arm.
The space was a Zellers before it was Target and had a basement floor along with the main level. In order to have its store on a single level, Walmart built an addition into The Pen Centre parking lot and expanded south into the mall, taking over space that occupied several small stores facing the Sears court.
The parking lot outside the Target was raised so shoppers no longer have to go uphill from their vehicles.
Bragagnolo said the majority of the parking lot work is completed, while the area in front of the Sears redevelopment is getting fixed soon.
There is plenty of other construction work taking place inside inside the former Sears department store.
Sears closed in January 2018, along with the rest of the chain, and the department store is being split up into seven or eight smaller retail spaces over the three levels.
Bragagnolo said most of the work has been focused on the building’s outside and demolition inside. Once some of the tenants are finalized, the mall will be able to determine where all the dividing walls go.
“Any time we do a big redevelopment project like that, I use the analogy that it’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “Until you have all the pieces, you really don’t know what the actual final space will look like in its entirety.”
Bragagnolo said the shopping centre has been very successful with leasing the space but is not in a position to make any announcements about tenants yet.
The new space should be open by early to mid-2020.
“We’re very excited. A lot of shopping malls still haven’t been able to solve their former Target spaces or former Sears, so I think we’re really pleased with the confidence that retailers have in The Pen Centre being the premier shopping destination for Niagara,” he said.
“And again, we’re pleased to be able to bring these extraordinary type retailers to our customers.”
Date: July 08, 2019
Source: Niagara Falls Review