A new retail development northwest of downtown is generating a lot of discussion, both good and bad.
“Some of the ideas, I have taken from Holland, taken from France, Italy and Britain,” said Anton Morgulis, the CEO of 76 Group Co., the local company behind the project.
Manchester Square has been under construction since the summer of 2018.
The location is a former warehouse-style retail building.
76 Group Co. kept the bones of the structure but has given the exterior a dramatic makeover.
There are 52 different facades, mainly accented with various types of brick.
In addition, more than 500 individual windows are fitted in to the 19 retail bays.
With the return of warmer weather, the tarps have come down, giving passersby a clear indication of the final product.
Some critics have weighed in, amplified in some cases through social media.
Morgulis has seen some of the remarks but says, “I’ll concentrate on people that love it, as opposed to people that don’t.”
From the inception, the developer has worked with the area’s community league.
The Queen Mary Park Community League welcomes the new addition to the neighbourhood.
“There are some developments that are different, but they are not that good looking,”explained Randy Shuttleworth with the league.
“But this one really looks good. Yeah, it’s different; it stands out. I think that’s very attractive for our neighbourhood.”
The building is about two months away from completion.
The developer wants local, independent businesses to be based at the development.
Three quarters of the 19 bays were spoken for, conditionally, but some deals fell through after the economy stalled because of COVID-19.
“But since the announcement of the first stage of reopening, thankfully, it’s been amazing,” Morgulis said. “The phone calls have been non-stop.”