Re-thinking vintage malls
A recent Globe and Mail article by Lori Mcleod talks about the need for redeveloping the urban malls in Canada (emphasis in RE). A story mentioned in the article is the Don Mills Centre, built in 1955 that is being redeveloped to become a mix of community square, enclosed by retail, office, and residential occupancies. According to the article, there are more than 1,000 similar shopping centres making up 60 percent of the shopping space in Canada.
Not too far from the Wexford Heights Plaza, where ThinkTankToronto and the 54East Project are located, the Morningside Mall in Scarborough is also going through a renewal phase. The mall will feature a patio across the soon-to-be Starbucks, a family restaurant, and perhaps outdoor heated spaces. The intentions of Dori Segal, CEO of First Capital Reality, the group behind this project is to give the mall a sense of community, and provide a space where people can enjoy themselves.
There is a lot of untapped potential for these types of developments to involve the local community and develop unique cultural assets (community centres, galleries, and the like) that are really unique to the area and highlight the cultural value of the neighbourhood. Imagine the 54East project at the scale of large malls. Perhaps a closer relationship between developers and local social entrepreneurs would be needed to do this.