Mul­ti­ple stores to replace gut­ted Sears outlet

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - MAR­SHALL HEALEY

Ma­jor work is un­der way at the 1000 Is­lands Mall in Brockville af­ter it was pur­chased in Jan­uary by Plaza Re­tail REIT from Strathallen Cap­i­tal Corp. for $14 mil­lion.

Since the be­gin­ning of June, ex­ten­sive con­struc­tion has been tak­ing place at the mall; specif­i­cally the old lo­ca­tion of the Sears.

Em­ploy­ees at the mall say they heard about the ma­jor work as far back as late April.

The lo­ca­tion where Sears once stood, and be­fore that Wal-Mart, has been vir­tu­ally gut­ted from the in­side out, leav­ing lit­tle traces of what was there pre­vi­ously.

Michael Zakuta, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Plaza Re­tail REIT, said the space where Sears was will be changed in how it is used.

“The Sears lo­ca­tion is be­ing di­vided up into mul­ti­ple units,” Zakuta said over the phone.

Zakuta said the idea is to have the now emp­tied space used for a va­ri­ety of busi­nesses.

Al­though Zakuta said he was not en­tirely sure about the time­line, he be­lieves the new busi­nesses will be op­er­a­tional in the new lo­ca­tion some­time in the fall.

He also said the ma­jor­ity of the spa­ces have been leased al­ready, but would not elab­o­rate on the new busi­nesses.

The new de­sign will also be change the lay­out of the mall.

The new busi­nesses in the space will be “sep­a­rate from the mall,” ac­cord­ing to Zakuta.

This devel­op­ment is not new to the 1000 Is­lands Mall; the cur­rent Sta­ples and Bulk Barn stores are not ac­ces­si­ble from the in­side.

As for the rest of the mall, Zakuta did not share much about the plans, sim­ply stat­ing that “over time, there will be some trans­for­ma­tion of the mall. Over time though.”

One of the early prob­lems Zakuta and Plaza Re­tail REIT had to deal with when ac­quir­ing the mall was the use of com­mu­nity rooms.

A week be­fore the pur­chase in Jan­uary, the upcoming events that were to take place in the com­mu­nity rooms were can­celled.

Zakuta said at the time of pur­chase they would be reach­ing out to those peo­ple whose events were can­celled to re-book. When speak­ing with The Recorder and Times in Jan­uary about the pur­chase, he stressed the im­por­tance of com­mu­nity.

“No mat­ter what we do, we will make com­mu­nity space avail­able go­ing for­ward. It may not be the same as what there is now, but we un­der­stand the sen­si­tiv­ity there so we want to work with the com­mu­nity,” he said.

As for the present day, Zakuta said “the com­mu­nity rooms still ex­ist.”

But when pressed on the fu­ture of those rooms, all Zakuta would say is: “Time will tell.”

MAR­SHALL HEALEY/SPE­CIAL TO THE RECORDER AND TIMES

A con­struc­tion worker on the job site at the 1000 Is­lands Mall in Brockville on Mon­day. The old Sears lo­ca­tion has been vir­tu­ally gut­ted, mak­ing way for new, mul­ti­ple ten­ants.

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