Thursday, April 10, 2014

Waterloo Square Withers

Some photos of Waterloo Square yesterday... that's BEFORE the surrounding streets are shut down for extended periods to build the LRT. Where's the uptown success story now? What's going on? At a guess:

*There is no longer enough convenient parking.
*Dozens of big box stores with loads of convenient parking have recently gone up nearby.
*Rents are too high (I have heard this from store owners).

Waterloo Square has a good and popular grocery store, a great flower shop and a drug store, but it needs another anchor: an LCBO, beer store, department store, Starbucks, City Cafe Bakery... something like that. It needs more convenient parking (currently, the Station Lot at Regina and Erb is considered parking for Waterloo Square in parking studies).

We need activities in the Square that really draw people - people who shop at the stores in the square. During the Winterloo Festival I walked into some stores asking how the festival affected business, and some retailers told me that it decreased sales. Sadly, some of those stores are now shuttered.

Uptown Waterloo became successful through a lot of hard work. Are we becoming complacent and letting it slip away?


Marie Snyder said...

I think it's less about the parking and more about what's in the mall. The parking lot right next to the mall is often half-empty.

I've gotten the impression, from talking to a few tenants, that the mall management is horrible, and, as you said, the rents too high. When we were kids, we went to the mall with our folks to go to the bowling alley and arcade in the downstairs while mom and dad had a drink at the bar or ditched us there to do their shopping. And Saturdays I had dance class in another area of the basement, while my mom did more shopping. Then, later on, the dance studio was replaced by a gym.

And there used to be a Zehrs instead of a Valu Mart, a K-Mart, an A&W, and a pet store. Now there's just a few clothes stores that aren't very popular. One Old Navy could turn things around.

I don't know if the city has the power, but it would be good to see the mall under different management.

Anonymous said...

What's in the mall isn't a reason for the problem, it IS the problem [what's there and what's not there]. Parking is part of the reason for the problem,
complacency on the part of those responsible for fixing things there is another part, competing malls and big box stores...

Anonymous said...

The city has got to get on top of this. The Mall is nearly dead. It is a VERY BIG DEAL. If they don't prioritize this Waterloo will become another Kitchener.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of it is the rent. Supply and demand seem to have little relevance to the owners. There is great parking on both sides so I am not sure how much better it could get.