WINNIPEG – Foot and vehicle traffic is usually bustling downtown but getting shoppers inside Portage Place Shopping Centre can be difficult.
“It’s all filled with dollar stores, there’s nothing good in that mall,” said one downtown shopper Wednesday.
The mall has clothing stores, office space and a food court but the negative impression of the downtown mall is hard to shake. Even harder now, after another high-profile closure.
Globe Theatre is closing Monday due to low attendance, the same reason the IMAX theatre shut down in March 2013.
“We’re really sad to see them go, it is sad that they didn’t have enough business to stay open,” said Clare MacKay, The Forks North Portage Partnership.
The IMAX theatre is still vacant and now the Globe Theater will be added to the list of spaces waiting to be repurposed, possibly for use by the University of Winnipeg.
“These two spaces, both the IMAX and the Globe are terrific spaces, they’re built to be theatres so they would make great lecture hall, great for conferences,” said Stone.
The mall opened in 1987 with an $80 million price tag. It was supposed to be a high-end retail magnet for shoppers, bringing new life to the north side of Portage Avenue downtown.
“I’ve never shopped at this mall, the only thing I actually use is the food court,” said another downtown shopper Wednesday.
The Forks North Portage Partnership owns the land the mall sits on and leases it to the Peterson Group. The lease doesn’t end until 2037 with the option to extend it to 2062.
In 2010 the mall converted 15,000 square feet of vacant retail into office space. Nine stores currently sit vacant and there are no more plans for big changes to the layout of the mall.
“Everyone is hanging tight and they’re satisfied with how things are going, we know by our sales numbers sales are where we expect them to be,” said Stone.
Now with the Globe closing Monday, that leaves just two movie theatres in downtown including an independent one and Towne Cinema 8, which is owned by the same company as the Globe.