A flurry of activity in the former Sears department store at Aberdeen Mall is demolition work inside the two-storey space to prepare for pending tenants.
Crews are busy hollowing out the 120,000-square-foot space, but no new stores are being built yet as mall management continues to finalize leases.
“It’s going to be very busy at that end of the mall throughout 2019, but when we’ll see new tenants opening, at this point, I don’t know,” Aberdeen Mall general manager Sandra Neufeld told KTW.
As for how many tenants the space will house, Neufeld confirmed there will be more than one, but said the precise number has not been finalized.
“If a larger tenant decides to take a space and we come to a deal, then they’re going to take a certain amount of floor space and, likewise, if we don’t come to a deal with them, then we might have room to accommodate two of the smaller players,” Neufeld said.
The reconfigured layout of the space hasn’t been determined and Neufeld estimated it’ll be a few more months before management knows who will fill it.
Neufeld said she would like to disclose more, but confidentiality agreements prohibit her from revealing what stores are in discussions with management.
As for how much interest has been expressed, Neufeld would only say she doesn’t anticipate any issues filling the space.
“We have a lot of interest from some great retailers,” she said.
While mall management will not divulge plans, KTW has learned that a grocery store will be complemented by a number of retail stores.
A person connected with construction of the project said one of the levels is set to be home to a grocery store of some kind.
As for the rest of the revamped Sears space, it has been learned that Marshalls will be leasing one of the storefronts.
Marshalls is a popular discount department store chain owned by TJX Companies, the firm that also owns the Winners chain. Marshalls has 1,081 states in the United States and 61 stores in Canada.
Other stores believed to be potentially coming to Aberdeen Mall include GoodLife Fitness, Old Navy and clothing outlet H&M.
“There’s all kinds of rumours that I, too, have heard and I can’t comment on whether or not there’s a validity to any of them,” Neufeld said.
Work has been ongoing in the former Sears space for weeks.
A gated portion blocking off parking stalls in front of the former Sears — at the east side of the mall — is a staging area meant to keep customers and vehicles away from the construction work and isn’t earmarked for any expansion.
“Those parking spots will come back to us once work is complete,” Neufeld said.