Edmonton developer plans to convert Mill Woods Town Centre into ‘community hub’

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Developer plans future for Mill Woods Town Centre as ‘community hub’
A southeast Edmonton shopping complex has a new owner with big plans for the space. Flagship stores have come and gone, but now a local developer says he hopes to bring staying power to Mill Woods Town Centre. Morgan Black reports. – Dec 19, 2022

An Edmonton-based developer has purchased Mill Woods Town Centre and says he plans to revitalize the shopping centre and eventually add infill housing.

Bill Blais is the president and CEO of Maclab Development Group. He described the shopping mall as a “community hub” filled with potential, citing the space’s proximity to public transport and a public library.

“We’re a company that’s focused on providing housing,” he said.

“We saw an opportunity for a local Edmonton-based company to purchase that property and bring together a whole bunch of things.”

Blais said the ample parking space gives Maclab a lot of space to work with.

“There’s an abundance of surface parking,” he said. “The mall’s going through an evolution. When it first opened, there was a Zellers, a Kmart… none of those exist anymore.

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“Parts have been demolished and different tenants have been in there. It’s just the next evolution.”

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In July, the Mill Woods Town Centre Co-op Food Store and pharmacy announced it would be closing in January 2023. North Central Co-op’s local board of directors and senior leaders said they made the decision after watching sales “decline year over year and exhausting all viable options to keep the location operational.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s downtown mall partners with Boyle Street on ’empathy-led security’

Ward Karhiio councillor Keren Tang said she has heard from residents that they want a future for Mill Woods Town Centre.

“There’s a lot of worry, a lot of uncertainty with those anchor store (closures being announced),” she explained.

“Since Co-op announced it was closing, I got emails (with questions like): ‘What are we going to do about the future of this site?'”

Blais estimated his group will spend a couple of years going through the master plan for the space as well as rezoning.

He said there will be no changes for current tenants for now.

“We’d love to see all those tenants find opportunities in the new development,” Blais said.

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“Nothing is happening to the existing mall any time soon.”

He said there will be a community engagement process beginning in early 2023.

“I wouldn’t expect there would be development for a couple of years on the site.”

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