There is a change to where retailers want to put their stores in Windsor. For a time, the so-called power centre on Walker Road was the place to be. But, of late, its ability to attract retailers seems to be waning as evidenced by the growing inventory of empty stores.
Shopkeepers, including new ones to the city, are moving into Devonshire Mall. The newest member of the mallscape is Metro. As well, developments to the south and west of he mall are operated by two companies who seem able to attract interesting and well-known merchants and service providers.
Terracap Management operates the Roundhouse Centre. It has built more retail space of late and has attracted such additions as Lee Valley Tools, Meridian Credit Union, and WE-TV.
On the south side of the mall, Rock Developments is bursting at the seams with new retail properties such as Marshall’s and JYSK. Rock has just announced a further expansion which will take it from where the old Home Depot once stood out to Provincial Road and reusing the former Union Gas property.
These are heady times for new stores, but only around Devonshire Mall.
Rocco Tullio, head of Rock Developments, told the Windsor Star on August 24 about the Walker Road area being filled with his company holding, “… basically the last piece of prime space butting up against the Number one mall in the region.”
But, is there more at play here?
The Walker Road power centre, when it opened, was quite distant from the highly populated area of the city. That hasn’t really changed. Devonshire Mall, however, is actually in a central location and next to the city’s main expressway. Although there has been considerable churn inside, the mall seems able to hold its own.
Devonshire is also looking ahead. Seeing an uncertain future, the mall is hoping to ensure its longevity by spending millions to create an environment able to withstand the onslaught of digital stores. What is lacking in the area is residential density. The homes around the mall are almost exclusively single family.
Eventually, Rock and Terracap will run out of retailers. Will the next aspect of development in the area be multi-unit residential including condo towers? This could dramatically increase population density.
If this happens, would it be folly to build a new hospital in a bean field south of the airport if development of the city continues around the mall?