Fishman Holdings North America, a Toronto-based property company, proposed the plan for a 440-unit, three-building complex in what is now the northeast corner of the mall’s parking lot.
In August 2016, Saskatoon city council approved rezoning to allow for the condos.
Proponents considered the project an opportunity to increase density by creating units without having to add new roads, parks, fire services and other amenities.
“If you add that amount of housing to a place like Market Mall, then there are no new services that are built into it,” said Mayor Charlie Clark, who was a city councillor when he backed the rezoning.
However, a new ownership group has different plans.
“The prior owner’s condo project that was approved in 2016 isn’t going ahead at this time,” said Taylor Brown, senior director of asset management for Strathallen – the Toronto-based company that purchased the mall from Fishman Holdings in early 2017.
Strathallen is a retail and industrial value-added company, not a condo developer, Brown told Global News.
The glut of residential units on the market in Saskatoon, particularly condos, wasn’t necessarily a factor in scrapping plans for condos, the senior director of asset management said.
Market Mall was developed in the 1960s and was Saskatoon’s first enclosed shopping centre.
“This mall has quite a bit of work to be done to bring it up to today’s standards as is,” Brown said.
The company has plans to spend $15 million or more in the next five to seven years to redevelop the mall into a “community hub,” according to Brown.
In fall 2018, a 23,000 square-foot Planet Fitness and a Giant Tiger are slated to open in the mall, Brown said. Fabricland is expected to move into the former Zellers space.
Malls need to give people as many reasons as possible to visit malls in 2018, according to David Williams, associate professor of marketing at the Edwards School Business at the University of Saskatchewan
“Not all those reasons are linked to buying and shopping,” he said.
Market Mall is in a central location surrounded by residential neighbourhoods and having services beyond shopping can subsidize retail sales, Williams added.
“[Malls] weren’t built to be historical masterpieces. They were built to be renovated and up with the times.”
With files from Dave Giles
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.