What's going wrong?
Some of the retailers believe that business never recovered after the front parking lot was turned into the Public Square. I like the public square and I like the policy to hide parking lots, but it may well be that visible parking attracts shoppers; after all, people flock to malls, where many people walk a long distance across the huge parking lots.
Another problem could be that the mall is just too small. After all, how many malls have barely 20 establishments, including restaurants? But we just spent a pile of money reducing it to a fraction of its previous size (it was not only cut in half, but the tower and basement areas were removed).
Perhaps the stores could be the problem - too expensive and not high enough quality. The vision for Uptown was independently owned boutique stores and gift shops. We haven't had many stores as high quality as Fudge's (which closed due to retirement).
I also wonder if First Gulf, the owner of the mall, isn't setting the rents too high. I wrote a business plan a few years ago for someone who was thinking of renting the coffee shop space, and when I crunched the numbers I saw how difficult it would be to survive with the rent that First Gulf wanted. (They may have lowered it after the space was empty for some time.)
An even more troubling thought is that perhaps Waterloo Square is a bellwether for the Uptown. Uptown has its share of failed or failing stores. Other than Words Worth Books, The Old Goat, Ontario Seed and Lily White, I'm not sure there's anything worth going to Uptown for these days.
Is anyone monitoring the situation, or doing anything about this?