June 13th, 2024

Sears space will become smaller bays, like Target did earlier

By Collin Gallant on July 10, 2018.

Construction fencing is set up near the former entrance to Sears at the Medicine Hat Mall on Monday. Officials with landlord Primaris tell the News that work to remake the 82,000 square feet of vacant space into mid-sized bays could proceed this fall.--NEWS PHOTO COLLIN GALLANT

Medicine Hat News

A major remodelling of the Medicine Hat Mall that concluded last month, will fire up again in a new phase this fall, as the 82,000 square-foot space left vacant by Sears is remade for new tenants, officials tell the News.

Last month, mall owner Primaris opened a new retail avenue and vestibule entrance on the southeast side of the shopping mall. That area, comprising the former food court, was redone after new bays and a modern food court opened last summer in nearby space formerly owned by Target.

Now the same sort of work is being planned to divvy up the Sears bay, and equipment is staying on site, but on the other side of the parking lot.

“It’s the same contractors, and they’ve moved that equipment (over),” said mall manager Richard Okrainec. “We should have more of a schedule later this summer.

“Aside from the food court aspect, (Sears) is the same idea as Target.”

This month, construction fencing, trailers and some materials were moved to the southwest corner of the parking lot. The area, which is flagged by Ellis Don — the same construction company that handled the first two phases of construction — is also storing some ventilation equipment.

Okrainec said those components are being staged for an annual maintenance program that’s now underway.

Work inside the mall is also progressing.

Charm jewellers is updating its store several years after that company purchased Ben Moss Jewellers.

Bootlegger is remodelling and two stores that are owned by the same company, Ricki’s and Cleo, are combining into one location.

No new tenants have been announced for the former food court entrance, which opened as seven smaller bays on time last month.

Sears Canada announced in June 2017 it would close the Medicine Hat location among 59 others in an attempt to stem losses at the name brand retailer. In the fall however, 130 more stores were closed as a plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection fell through.

The company had been a founding tenant in the Medicine Hat Mall when it opened 38 years earlier, though it had sold its ownership stake in 2012.

Observers had wondered what would fill the large space it had occupied.

Okrainec said Monday the basic plan for the already gutted space is to transform it into mid-sized bays.

A budget, possible tenants and other details would be released when plans are finalized, he said.

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