Perhaps in the owners minds the least risky thing is to do nothing and let it languish, but I think that is sort of the approach the previous owners took and that didn't go so well as the mall continued to decline. I would say this is low cost, but there is more risk than is apparent as the site deteriorates further and it also could lead to decline in the value of the nearby office space.It raises the question then what are their plans with City Centre? Clearly leaving it is as is won't be a viable solution as the retail is mostly empty and I don't think they want it in it's current sorry state for much longer.
I've mentioned it before and I'll reiterate it again - City Centre needs a complete overhaul and should be redeveloped into something different than just another retail mall/destination. There's too much competition close by and around the city. This should have plans for a couple of mixed use hotel/residential towers and have the ground floors host bars/restaurants/go-to nightlife destinations that will have people wanting to be there past business hours.
Yes it would cost a lot and with the current state of downtown I don't blame them for not wanting to pursue this right now. But this mall is a liability on the owners and a blight for our city. It has the potential, but I wish the owners would take a risk and gamble because the payoffs could be huge if done right.
Everyone has their own threshold for when they feel uncomfortable/unsafe - while I think drug use is worse than it was previously, I don't feel more unsafe downtown than I did five years ago. My wife also says the same. Most of the people on my team echo the same sentiment that I have. However, I do know other teams/people that swing the other way and won't venture out of the office whatsoever and say as much in their team meetings. The question I always ask people is whether you are actually unsafe or simply feel unsafe and to take a step back and think about that.~60k people Downtown on any given day pre-covid and some counts believe that might include students, but for arguments sake let's use 60k pure workers.
Even if 2/3 are back, that's 40k and I'd bet it is more like 20-30k with many not there for 8hrs, far fewer lunching, shopping (cause it's no longer an option) and exploring (due to safety). A friend who works at the UofA at ESQ told me that many coworkers arrive, work and leave due to concerns about walking around the core, day or night.
I would agree with all of this. I think some of the very negative talk here and elsewhere in our community is self perpetuating and actually hurts the remaining downtown businesses most people would like to see survive and thrive. In particular, I think this negative mindset has probably taken root in our city more than in other places.Everyone has their own threshold for when they feel uncomfortable/unsafe - while I think drug use is worse than it was previously, I don't feel more unsafe downtown than I did five years ago. My wife also says the same. Most of the people on my team echo the same sentiment that I have. However, I do know other teams/people that swing the other way and won't venture out of the office whatsoever and say as much in their team meetings. The question I always ask people is whether you are actually unsafe or simply feel unsafe and to take a step back and thing about that.
Downtown safety isn't unique to Edmonton either. It is being fuelled in every major City across North America by the opioid epidemic, which is still trending upward.
I think the way that people talk about downtown with their peers, friends, and family influences how they feel about downtown, the same way that people think a certain way about politics or the pandemic. If no one talks about downtown in a positive light, everyone is going to continue to go down the rabbit hole of how unsafe and crappy a place it is to be.
There is no doubt that the mall is hurting due to less actual shoppers in general; however, the mall doesn't reflect all of downtown. The mall has also been far busier and active with the office crowd during the day the past couple of weeks. However, anecdotal increase in numbers doesn't reflect the actual data that says there are less people.
We tried to make reservations this weekend at almost every restaurant downtown a few weeks back and everything was booked, so people are still coming downtown on the weekend.
I think the narrative can change, but more people have to start promoting and talking about downtown positively.
As has been mentioned here before, a lot of people who live downtown (I am guessing you like driving or don't live downtown) don't necessarily want to drive to get everything. The real appeal of downtown living is to be able to walk to a variety of nearby places for many goods and services.As has been mentioned here before, Kingsway is 5 minutes away. Edmonton is a driving city. If you are going to drive to a mall the clear option is Kingsway. Add in a national (international?) destination shopping centre in the same city…and clearly there’s no hope for city centre as a traditional shopping centre. MAYBE if they become an outwardly facing shopping street it might offer a different experience that people could respond to? Way more issues with this mall than just safety.