Sunday, May 31, 2009

West Saint John Retail Development Forum

On May 28 at the Branch 69 Legion, a forum for residents, retailers, business owners and other interested people was held to discuss the new developments on Fairville Blvd. and the Lancaster Mall, as well as information on the reconfiguration of Simms Corner. The forum was organized by Enterprise Saint John, in cooperation with the City of Saint John and the Saint John West Business Association.

There was a good turnout for the 3 hour session, and representatives of Plaza Corp.(Sobeys/Fairville Blvd. mall) and Counsel Corp. (Lancaster Mall) spoke about the plans for the retail redevelopment on those sites. Randy Pederson from Java Moose announced the opening of a “first-of its kind" Java Moose coffee bar/restaurant in the Lancaster Mall, on the former site of Tim Horton’s. I believe the opening is scheduled for the end of June for Java Moose, and end of August for the grand reopening of the Lancaster Mall.

From the look of the artist’s renditions of the interior, the mall will be pretty sharp. The Transit Lounge alone is going to be well worth the wait. And everyone knows Zellers is undergoing a huge renovation, we're anxious to see the finished results.

Participants had an opportunity to voice opinions on upcoming developments and identify services currently unavailable but desired. A movie theater and a gym were mentioned as Westside-wants. Randy Peterson advised Westsiders if we were serious about a theatre we need to petition, email, write and generally get the word to Empire Theatres that we want a theatre. Stuart G. Fraser is the President & CEO of Empire Theatres, and is based in New Glasgow, NS. A general contact email for the company is:

Representatives from the city’s Municipal Operations Dept. discussed the new configuration of Simms corner, and the Catherwood / Fairville Blvd. reconstruction. The Simms Corner work will be a big job but makes a lot of sense. The intersection will have lights and operate just like any other intersection. Listening to the explanations given by the city’s employees it sounds straight-forward. Work on this project isn’t expected to start for at least another year. However, work on the Catherwood / Fairville Blvd. intersection is due to begin the beginning of June.