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Burlington mall celebrates 50 years with $60-million renovation project

Tracy Hanes
Burlington mall celebrates 50 years with $60-million renovation project
RIOCAN — The Burlington Centre mall in Burlington, Ont. recently celebrated its 50th anniversary after undergoing a $60-million renovation that included a new entrance fronting Guelph Line and a new corridor leading to a revamped food court.

Burlington, Ont.’s largest mall is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new name and a $60 million renovation.

In late October, the mall — now known as Burlington Centre — marked the completion of a two-year makeover and its half century anniversary with a community celebration that included local dignitaries and the renowned Burlington Teen Tour Marching Band. When the mall originally opened in October 1968, the Teen Tour Band also marched through the corridors.

When Target Canada stores, including one at the Burlington Mall, closed in 2015, RioCan, a major Canadian management and development company of retail-focused, mixed-use properties, chose to redevelop the Burlington site to suit changing community needs, rather than seek another large tenant.

The revamped mall has upgraded washrooms with nursing and family room, free WiFi, improved wayfinding and digital directories, furniture with outlets for charging smart devices and an updated food court. A new entrance fronting Guelph Line has been added as well as a new corridor leading to the food court.

“RioCan and our partners at KingSett believe Burlington Centre is a model for how community shopping centres can operate going forward,” said RioCan COO Jonathan Gitlin in a press release. “As retail continues to evolve, it’s even more important for properties such as this to serve as a gathering place for the community. We were mindful to ensure the changes we made to our branding, tenant mix and physical space were reflective of the preferences of shoppers and changes in the community.”

The renovated and rebranded mall has added new tenants to the retail mix, including speciality grocery store Denninger’s, an Indigo store with Starbucks, a relocated and refreshed Winners and national food chains including Blaze Pizza, Mr. Greek, Five Guys and Freshii. Those new additions join other national retailers that include SportChek, HomeSense, Hudson’s Bay and Goodlife Fitness.

Burlington Centre, to reflect its focus to become a community gathering place, launched a year-long campaign this spring to support local organizations by hosting and participating in events. These have included BurlingtonGreen’s Earth Day Clean-Up Green Up and ewaste event, two-pop concerts to promote the city’s Sound of Music Festival, and it has supported the Burlington Organized Minor Baseball Association and the local Terry Fox Run.

A pop-up museum chronicling the 50-year history of the shopping centre unveiled during the opening ceremonies will remain on display at Burlington Centre.

“We wanted the Grand Opening to be an occasion where we could celebrate with the community and collectively look forward to the next 50 years in Burlington. But it was equally important to recognize our history, and the role this property has played in the city over the last half century,” said the shopping centre’s general manager, Heidi McGaw.

Burlington Centre is the largest mall in Burlington, spanning about 738,000 square feet. The city, located between Oakville and Hamilton, has a population of more than 183,000 people.

RioCan is one of Canada’s largest real estate investment trusts with a total enterprise value of approximately $13.7 billion. It owns, manages and develops retail-focused properties in high-density, transit-oriented areas. Its portfolio is comprised of 267 properties, including 17 development properties, with an aggregate net leasable area of approximately 42 million square feet.

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