Promenade Mall Revitalization | ?m | 35s | Liberty Development | WZMH

TJ O'Pootertoot

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I wouldn't describe the mall as failing or anything like that. There has been noticeable store turnover recently, no doubt caused by the "uncertain future" and (so I hear) increased rents, possibly directly related to the former factor; to push out some deadwood. So, Starbucks has just come in and pushed out Second Cup, for example.
Sears was never a huge anchor but losing it was still an obvious blow. But even in the mall's best days, there have been literally acres of surplus parking (particularly on the east and south sides) which could have been at least used for more pad retail. And it's interesting they're keeping the mall at the core, rather than going with something more akin to Don Mills, which I thought was possible.

Overall this seems a pretty good, if ambitious plan. I like how they bring the transit hub closer to the mall and connect things with those glass concourses. I'm not entirely sure about the scale - especially with the back and forth regarding the proposed (way out of scale) 7-tower proposal directly to the north. Traffic is always going to be a concern but that MIGHT be too many units for the site; hard to get a sense of the overall density until we've seen that second proposal and knit it all together.
(don't forget, there's already I think 6 or 7 condo towers on the periphery there...)

It looks like the Phase 1 towers are closer to the mall but how it will change the Bathurst Streetscape is the real question.
Interesting, anyway.
 

JasonParis

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As someone who lives near the mall i am very concerned about traffic. the traffic situation is already out of control and adding all these units will just add more cars to an already congested area. I know they are building transit in the area, but the reality no one takes transit in Thornhill. The buses are empty and run so infrequently.
Considering that many will work, shop and entertain themselves right in "Promenade City," the traffic concerns may be overblown. And regardless, traffic will get worse anyway. Making neighbourhoods dense enough to support transit is the only long-term solution.
 

mkerian

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As someone who lives near the mall i am very concerned about traffic. the traffic situation is already out of control and adding all these units will just add more cars to an already congested area. I know they are building transit in the area, but the reality no one takes transit in Thornhill. The buses are empty and run so infrequently.

I've known this area for 31 years. About 20 years ago the area north of Centre St west of Bathurst all the way to New Westminister used to be nothing but fields. Then they started building. Now there's retail, big box, parks, condos, townhouses, and an old-age home (a fancy one too).

I remember when there were only a couple streetlights on Centre between Dufferin and Bathurst. Almost every weekend night I could hear the street racers take advantage of the almost 1km perfect stretch. Now there's at least 6 or 7 streetlights and new intersections.

I also remember when nothing but the YRT 77 bus would take you Finch Station. I mean, you could hike it to the Promenade Mall to take the 88 or the short bus 3, but both of those winded their way through residential neighborhoods. Then the VIVA Purple launched, and now we have the transitway.

Unfortunately, density brings traffic. That this area has transformed into such a hub is a sign of growth and with Thornhill's pace of growth there's nothing you can do to abate that *except* by building transit. Denying more density is foolish, and you can't build more roads or widen existing ones.

To say no one takes transit and the buses run empty and infrequently highlights your bias. Now, the buses *do* run frequently. The 77 runs every 20 minutes or so during rush hour, and the Promenade Mall transit hub has Viva and YRT buses pulling in and out full of people at all times. During rush hour the 77 was so packed that it was standing room from Finch to the Promenade, when others transferred to more buses or more frequently, walked home.

The VIVA Purple is packed with students heading to York University, and now more so with the subway access at VMC.

Look, I understand. My parents' house backs onto the south side of Centre street. They've been dealing with the VIVA rapidway construction for a couple years now. These concerns and biases are partly generational, partly nimby, and very rarely on actual reality.

But a project like this? I'm not saying that a company like Liberty is a beacon of excellent planning or integrity - far from it. However this has potential to further energize a growing hub. What was a field of suburban houses 30 years ago has transformed into a node of density and multi-use.

At the very least, enjoy the increase in your property value!
 
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innsertnamehere

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20 minutes is frequent? in what world? This area should have 5 minute frequency Viva Service to VMC, Finch, and RHC at minimum.
 

canarob

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I can confidently say that a lot of malls around the GTA are in the process of formulating redevelopment plans of various scales. This isn't the first mall to get mixed use development and won't be the last.

I hope Markville is one of them.: very similar site and transit connections as this mall.
 

innsertnamehere

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which is a horrible peak hour frequency. Trust me - you don't want to base your life around about only being able to leave your house / office 4 times an hour.
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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We're getting off-topic about YRT's frequency issues but this is really the eternal Catch-22 of urbanizing a suburb.
As said above, we need to build more communities like this instead of more subdivisions like Thornhill Woods. In the meantime, running buses every 5 mins - or otherwise comparing TTC headways to YR ones - isn't really fair. (And, also in fairness, when you can use apps to see when the next bus is coming etc., you're less likely to just miss a bus or otherwise stand at a stop for a long time. You know when the 4 buses/an hour are and you can arrange your life within those 15-min windows without too much effort, I think.) Over the course of time, frequency has improved and will continue to improve and projects like this only further that goal.

As to the project specifically, it's intensification of an under-utilized site, in a central location, with a transit hub and adjacent BRT. That's an easy and obvious win.
It's adding more people and obviously that means more cars but if 10,000 people are moving to YR, they'll cause less traffic moving there than they will moving into subdivisions further north on Bathurst.

As I said above, my only "concern" would be seeing what the total unit count and density look like when the adjacent proposal is factored in but it'll probably still be reasonable.

(and note for those who might not know: Liberty also developed the lands north of Centre, the condos around the Walmart and there's also a townhome development going in just south of the mall, so the area's pretty happening right now. Smart move by Vaughan to develop a Secondary Plan for the district, if a little belated.)
 

narduch

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Yup! Only issue I think they may run into in the future is that they built an entire development around the mall but the mall is still dead, which will leave this weird open space in the middle... The Promenade is dying at a crazy fast rate. Stores are leaving left, right, and center. It is very sad, rumors of swirled that the mall is closing, which seems to have sent customers away. Promenade is a stunning structure, so bright and airy, much nicer than Bayview Village, just has no stores left. Looking forward to the mall's renovation. According to the article they are going to do an Erin Mills type of renovation with new skylights and a new center court. Attached are some images of the Promenade during peak shopping hours. Looks like Sears will go as part of the redevelopment.

View attachment 152700 View attachment 152701 View attachment 152703

I happened to be at this mall yesterday night. I wouldn't say it's dying. I didn't visit the entire Mall but they still have a bunch of major mall tenants (Club Monaco, Aritzia, Old Nay, Gap, etc.).

It was pretty dead though. Which should be concerning.

I am surprised they have done a half-decent job keeping some decent tenants.
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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I don't know their finances but the movie theatre is always busy, they have a few upscale stores (e.g. Coach, Swarovski) and have had some new restaurants + Starbucks open in the past few months. I think if it wasn't a healthy mall, they'd be basically be starting from scratch rather than just building around it. But every mall needs an anchor and Sears was never strong; TNT also does OK at the other end. If you go on the weekend, as opposed to a nice summer weekend, it's pretty steady.

I think I said above, there has definitely been a lot of turnover over the past year but I've heard that's because rents have been substantially raised, whether to purposefully push some places out or to otherwise prep for the changes coming. Pickle Barrel just closed, for example, and it's hard to believe that's because they weren't consistently busy; there's some inside baseball stuff going on. It's not a major mall like Yorkdale but it isn't one of those dying suburban malls you hear about in the States etc.

All that said, even if the closed Sears was replaced with a healthy Hudson's Bay, they'd still have plenty of underutilized land and potential for redevelopment and so this kind of change was inevitable. Obviously the renderings make it look very green and urban. It sounds like they've already been working with the city to have something acceptable but we'll see how it shifts during the planning process, which could be a while.
 

VadimM

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This would be good for the area, no doubt. They are currently doing a lot of work on Bathurst and Centre streets, under and above ground. New large bus shelters and dedicated middle lane for transit are being built in sight for the future increased use of YRT. They also beautifying the streets to make them look less generic and suburban.

There is a large senior population in the area and they dont spend much in the mall, except the food court. The mall itself is outdated and looks almost the same as I remember it to be 20 years ago. Hopefully, the new development would bring the influx of multi-cultural young professionals and families that would use the upgraded mall more often.
 

Johnny Au

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There is a large senior population in the area and they dont spend much in the mall, except the food court. The mall itself is outdated and looks almost the same as I remember it to be 20 years ago. Hopefully, the new development would bring the influx of multi-cultural young professionals and families that would use the upgraded mall more often.
T&T is an excellent start.

It helps that it's an ethnic grocery store that is popular with Westerners. T&T in the Promenade also has a restaurant specializing in congee and other Chinese cuisine, as well as some travel agencies, One's Better Living (East Asian gift shop), and some other services.

The new development should also bring in more ethnic retailers to compete with Pacific Mall and Remington Centre in Markham.
 

yrt+viva=1system

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T&T is an excellent start.

It helps that it's an ethnic grocery store that is popular with Westerners. T&T in the Promenade also has a restaurant specializing in congee and other Chinese cuisine, as well as some travel agencies, One's Better Living (East Asian gift shop), and some other services.

The new development should also bring in more ethnic retailers to compete with Pacific Mall and Remington Centre in Markham.

What I like about Promenade over Pacific Mall, the future Remington Centre and even World on Yonge is the fact that Promenade is a proper mall compared to those condo-retail malls.

Also before anyone complains about the current bus terminal, it's not owned by YRT if I'm remembering correctly but owned by the City of Vaughan.
 

yrt+viva=1system

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Went by the food court today and discovered that McDonald's has closed after 32 years. There were rumours about them closing but I didn't know that they would be true. It was only last week when I was buying a coffee from them. A mall employee mentioned that McDonald's decided not to renew their lease.
 

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