HomeNew stores planned for city

New stores planned for city

Aug 21 1999

By Dave Stewart
The Guardian

The retail landscape in Charlottetown appears to be headed for a dramatic change over the coming year.

Future Shop, one of North America's leading specialty retailers of computer and consumer electronics products, is currently in negotiations to lease space inside Wal-Mart in Charlottetown. "We are in negotiations and have put in an offer to lease space for that site,'' Eric Ommundsen, a spokesman with Future Shop in Toronto, told The Guardian Friday.

"It looks quite positive that we'll (be in Charlottetown).''

There are 82 Future Shop stores in Canada, with the nearest outlet at Champlain Place in Moncton. Ommundsen wouldn't speculate on how much space Future Shop would take up in Wal-Mart, but he hoped it could open within the next year.

Major development also appears afoot at the old Kmart store in Charlottetown.

APM Properties recently purchased the lease from Zellers to develop the former Kmart retail building at the corner of University and Belvedere avenues.

Reagh Ellis, franchise owner for Mark's Work Wearhouse on P.E.I., confirmed Friday that he has a verbal agreement to move the current franchise store, now close to the Charlottetown Mall, into the old K-mart store.

Ellis said he expects to finalize the agreement within the next two weeks and hopes to move into the old Kmart location by June of next year or sooner.

"We have every intention of moving into that development,'' Ellis said of moving Mark's Work Wearhouse down University Avenue. "The ball is in APM's court now but we have come to an agreement that works for us. We are going to have to nail (a signed agreement) down in real short order . . . in the next couple of weeks.''

Ellis said he has a number of reasons why moving Mark's Work Wearhouse down the street makes sense:
— Not enough retail space in the present location. "To grow the business I need retail space. The present location doesn't afford me that opportunity. I need a bigger store,'' he said.
— There isn't enough parking to satisfy the demand at the present location. "When you're talking the really busy time of the year, in November and December, our parking lot is full. There's nowhere for anyone to park and that hurts business.''
— Accessibility. Trying to get out of Mark's when traffic is heavy on University Avenue can be downright impossible. "Accessibility in and out of Mark's is probably the biggest issue. We need to move.''

Ellis said he's looking at 15,000 square feet of space in Kmart and that it could open sooner than next June. He is also looking into opening a Mark's Work Wearhouse store in Summerside.

He added that he knows of at least one other major tenant in negotiations to open up in the old Kmart location but wouldn't divulge who.

But there's still the question of whether there would be an anchor tenant — other than the store Ellis hinted at. The hot rumour now is that it is Sears.

Tim Banks, president and owner of APM Properties, wouldn't comment on what major tenant is looking at the old Kmart property other than to say it would be a national retailer.

"Look for big things soon,'' Banks said Friday. "The former Kmart property is now in a position to be developed. We're really excited about it.

"We're going to be bringing some jobs (to Charlottetown).''

Banks said he has been talking to a number of major retail names and said he is having "good success''.

He said that it is vital the people and the community of Charlottetown in general support the new retail business coming in because "these players are here to stay and if we don't get behind it, Charlottetown people will shop in other markets.''

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