Some customers and tenants of a decades-old strip mall in central Edmonton are processing the news that they’ll have to leave as the property is being redeveloped.
Last week, more than 15 businesses that rent space in Strathearn Centre on month-to-month leases were given written notice to vacate by Oct. 31.
The developer, Nearctic Property Group and Rockwell Investments, has been planning to redevelop the 24-acre property for years but encountered several delays.
The owner of Juniper Cafe, which has operated out of Strathearn Centre since 2015, said he knew the project could happen someday.
“It was: ‘We’re going do it next spring, next fall, next year, next spring, next fall,'” Kenny Dario said. “Truthfully, we didn’t think it was ever coming.”
After surviving LRT construction and the pandemic, Dario said more than six months’ warning to move out would have been nice.
“We’re shocked. We’re devastated really, in the sense that the timing is super bad,” Dario said.
“Not to squash their dreams, their ambitions, but a little bit of more time would’ve helped all these businesses in here.
“Had I known this was coming a year ago, I wouldn’t be so devastated, but in six months, there’s no way I can pay off my financial debt,” he added. “No way.”
The strip mall is also home to an appliance store, a laundromat and a fish shop.
“The reason I moved here is because of that convenience store,” Strathearn resident Kelly Jeffrey said.
Another customer, Sonja Rhem, is saddened by the news.
“Because I think it’s very important to the city to have these little neighbourhood restaurants… or all the little businesses in here.”
The new development, Strathearn Heights, is projected to be 100,000 square feet of retail space and 2,000 residential units.
Nearctic Property Group did not respond to Global News’ requests for comment.
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