Reimagining the mall.
Physical retail environments are quickly evolving. With the increased use of online commerce, physical retail spaces need to promote unique experiences, special services, and amenities to thrive. This is resulting in retail areas that have a broader mix of uses, including housing, and a focus on place-making.
We are working with developers on large site revitalization plans, including full scale urban downtown blocks and for major shopping centres, creating long-term plans to intensify and introduce a mix of uses, often taking advantage of new higher-order transit infrastructure. Urban Strategies is developing a number of long-term redevelopment plans for many of Canada’s top-performing regional shopping centres in the Greater Toronto Area. We provide planning and urban design expertise, helping to create flexible, long term development scenarios that responds to future community needs and regional moves.
In some cases, the plan involves expanding the internalized portion of the mall, and introduce new uses, such as street-related retail, purpose-built rental housing, and parkland. In other cases, the scope involves massive new developments where sites are being transformed into a community of connections that knits together the established surrounding neighbourhoods. Our goal is to create a mixed-use development at the centre of a transit node that will bring in a new workforce that will support schools, shops and local businesses.
“As Toronto—the capital of the province of Ontario and Canada’s largest city—continues to grow and evolve, its malls stand at the precipice of transformation. They are the final urban frontier, ripe for redevelopment into spaces that reflect the city’s future rather than its past. ”— Urban Land Institute, Spring Meeting 2023 (Toronto)