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Tepperman’s to anchor $10 million revitalization project

Rob Dawson and Andrew Tepperman

Since it’s original development over 50-years ago, the London Road Shopping Centre at 1249 London Road has been at the heart of Sarnia’s shopping district.

The space played a key part in growing Sarnia’s retail sector and has been home to major brands like TD Bank, Zellers and the LCBO over the years.

Despite its history, the center has had minimal upgrades since its original development and foot traffic slowed significantly after the closing of Zellers in 2013.

The opening of the new Giant Tiger store along with additional new tenants like Pharmasave, Meridian Hearing and Coffee Culture helped real-estate developer, Rob Dawson, see the opportunity for so much more.

Dawson, President of Lucror Property Investments, purchased majority ownership of the shopping centre this April from the Berger Family of San Diego, California and plans to invest over $10 million in a five-year revitalization project.

“The 1249 London Road Shopping Centre has been staple in the Sarnia community since the ‘60’s,” says Dawson, “it’s prime retail location both for tenants and shoppers, but needs a facelift.”

The space will be completely revitalized to function as a vibrant, outdoor mall with food service (such as Crabby Joes and McDonalds), traditional retail (like Giant Tiger and Tepperman’s) and professional services (for example, Meridian Hearing, Mainframe, Bluewater Nutrition and Optometrists Dr. Seto and Dr. Winch).

Changes to the centre will drastically enhance the shopping experience through a combination of increased green space, accessible walkways that give direct access from the road, more functional parking, a new pylon sign and innovative features like electronic car plugins.

Some current tenants will also receive improvements to their location, including Crabby Joe’s who will be working toward a standalone space with a potential patio. Alternatives for Goodwill Industries at their site are also being discussed.

This revitalization will also be critical to drawing in new businesses.

“Retailers expectations have changed drastically since the centre was originally developed,” Dawson says, “We know our enhancements will satisfy these needs and draw new tenants to what will be a highly desirable, modernized space; there’s really nothing quite like it in Sarnia”

Tepperman’s recently announced they will be expanding their Sarnia footprint to a new 38,000 square foot, state-of-the-art store in the London Road Shopping Centre, featuring their highly anticipated Bargain Annex
Dawson said he approached Tepperman’s to join as the anchor tenant, in part, because of a close alignment of values and a history of taking care of families in the communities they serve.

“Both the London Road Shopping Centre and Tepperman’s are long-standing family businesses that put family values and community at their core. Tepperman’s has served the Sarnia community for more than 25-years and we couldn’t think of a better company to anchor our revitalization.”

Tepperman’s President, Andrew Tepperman, says the new store is a way to demonstrate how much the company appreciates Sarnia families bringing the Tepperman’s brand into their homes.

Ground will break on the new Tepperman’s store in March of 2017.

Renderings for the revitalized site plan are now available and announcements will be forthcoming on new tenants.

Dawson added, “We’ve been actively working on recruitment since October 2015. With existing and new tenants, we’re at 75% occupancy for the expanded footprint and we’ve been working very hard to be able to secure agreements for the east and north parts of our property.”

This revitalization follows a broader “de-malling” trend across South Western Ontario, where developers take advantage of functionally obsolete retail areas to make them more attractive and relevant to a new kind of consumer.

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