New out­look at mall

Groupe Quint ditches plans for apart­ments, will fo­cus on filling va­cant re­tail space

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - FRONT PAGE - TODD HAMBLETON

The new owner and prop­erty man­ager at Corn­wall Square is ex­pect­ing the mall will have a new and fresh look very soon— one that won’t in­clude apart­ments, for now.

Melissa Boyer, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Mon­treal-based prop­erty de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment com­pany Groupe Quint, con­firmed that Ur­ban Planet will be mov­ing into the se­cond floor of the space for­merly oc­cu­pied by the Sears Out­let store, and that it’s just the start of more shop­ping op­tions in the build­ing.

“It’s a pri­or­ity for us to fill the empty space,” Boyer said. “We own a lot of malls in Que­bec, we have a lot of con­nec­tions and we’re good at what we do. . . the in­ten­tion is to fill the space quickly. It’s a great mall, big (and) well lo­cated.”

Early last fall Part­ners Real Es­tate In­vest­ment Trust (REIT) an­nounced it had sold Corn­wall Square for $8.4 mil­lion, and Groupe Quint of­fi­cially ac­quired the prop­erty early in De­cem­ber. The pur­chase price was lower than the $13.3-mil­lion mort­gage Part­ners REIT took out on the prop­erty in 2017. It also came after the for­mer own­ers re­placed a fre­quently bro­ken es­ca­la­tor and had made sev­eral nec­es­sary re­pairs to the park­ing struc­ture.

Ur­ban Planet, which has had a stand­alone store in Corn­wall at East­court Mall for five years, will move to Corn­wall Square and pos­si­bly as soon as next month, and Boyer said it will oc­cupy the en­tire se­cond floor of the old Sears store.

“(Ur­ban Planet is) pre­par­ing the space this month, to fit it to their needs, and we’re do­ing a few things to help them out,” Boyer said.

Boyer added Groupe Quint is talk­ing to sev­eral po­ten­tial ten­ants to fill up the first-floor space at the old Sears, and to oc­cupy other avail­able ar­eas of the mall.

last March, the pre­vi­ous mall owner, Part­ners reIt, an­nounced that re­tail space va­cated by the Sears out­let in 2017 would be con­verted into res­i­den­tial ac­com­mo­da­tions, pri­mar­ily one-bed­room and two-bed­room lux­ury apart­ments.

But that’s not the di­rec­tion Groupe Quinte is go­ing in.

“Cer­tainly not in the short-term,” Boyer said. “we would have to an­a­lyze it (at a fu­ture date) but the ap­proach now is to put re­tail (in the Sears space).”

Boyer said one ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant at Corn­wall Square de­cided to stay on in the job after the changeover, and that “some in ad­min­is­tra­tion de­cided not to stay. we also kept sev­eral of the main­te­nance crew, that’s why the mall is so clean and nice.”

Boyer said Corn­wall Square is the com­pany’s first mall in on­tario, and that Groupe Quint is “grow­ing fast” and that it will be ac­quir­ing re­tail prop­er­ties “across Canada and some in the u.S.”

Boyer said there is cur­rently a prop­erty man­ager work­ing part­time at Corn­wall Square, and that Groupe Quint’s in­ten­tion is to hire a full-time prop­erty man­ager.

“Send a re­sume to Groupe Quint,” Boyer said.

She can be reached by email at [email protected]­quint.com. tham­ble­[email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/Free­hold­erTodd

TODD HAMBLETON/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

The south-west cor­ner of Corn­wall Square, where the Sears Out­let was lo­cated.

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