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EllisDon to manage $110 million makeover of Cadillac Fairview mall in Markham, Ontario

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by Peter Kenter

The 29-year-old Markville Mall in Markham, Ontario, northeast of Toronto, is about to get a massive renovation. EllisDon Corp. will manage the construction contract for mall owner Cadillac Fairview, which includes re-configuring entrances, adding a staircase and 180,000 square feet of porcelain tile flooring.
Markville Shopping Centre in Markham, Ont.
Markville Shopping Centre in Markham, Ont.

Work will begin in September on a massive $110-million redevelopment of Cadillac Fairview’s Markville Shopping Centre in Markham. EllisDon has been named contract manager for the project.

While the mall-wide renovation won’t involve heavy structural work, contractors will be kept busy re-configuring mall entrances, adding a centre-court staircase, transforming interior spaces and building new food-service amenities.

The reno will also include installation of 180,000 square feet of porcelain tile flooring and 12,000 linear feet of glass handrails.

Built in 1982 and expanded in 1991, Markville’s name is derived from a combination of the names Markham and Unionville, communities that were considered less than cosmopolitan three decades ago. However, an increasingly sophisticated customer continues to expect more from a shopping experience.

“The typical shopper is well-travelled and expects a world-class shopping experience,” says Sandra Lorentiu, retail manager of Markville. “Markville has intense competition, but we are determined to become the shopping destination within the trade area.”

The mall has a gross leasable area of just under one million square feet. More than 250,000 square feet of commercial space will be re-merchandised, some of it with brands new to Canada or the GTA.

Petroff Partnership Architects, with its head office in Markham, is the firm responsible for the redesign, with Pappas Design Studios of Montreal doing the interior concept work.

Petroff has logged considerable experience with the redevelopment and design of shopping centres over the past 50 years.

“In the process of these renovations you’re always keeping in mind that you can’t close the mall or you’ll lose the marketshare you’re trying to increase,” says Peter Peltekoff, partner emeritus with Petroff.

“We’ve had a lot of experience in the renovation aspect of this type of project, so we know how to solve the problems that will inevitably come up. The work will be done in sequence at off-hours and at night, and the design takes that staging into account. EllisDon also happens to be one of the most experienced contractors performing this type of work.”

Central to the redesign is a remodelled interior food court, and two new outdoor patio eating areas.

“There’s quite a bit of competition in the market and it’s very important to have the mall keep its market share and keep up with the changes to its surroundings,” says Mark Feldman, partner in charge of the project with Petroff.

“The re-design aims to create new excitement and a sense of sophistication. Two new south-facing restaurants, for example, feature outside patio-style seating, which will bring interior mall activity to the exterior and add an element of urban excitement to the centre. It will create a dynamic atmosphere that promotes pedestrian activity.”

Peltekoff notes that Markville’s original design was very innovative, allowing the architects to take advantage of some of the centre’s original features, including abundant skylights.

Among the green features of the renovation are sophisticated lighting control systems that will adjust themselves to available outdoor light.

New washrooms will be fitted with low flow toilets and touchless appliances and less efficient heating and air conditioning equipment is also being weeded out and replaced.

Lorentiu notes that shoppers are keen to be part of the construction process, so reporting on the progress of the project will be a key component of the centre’s communication strategy, which will be ramped up in September.

“Our customers are ready for this upgrade, but every attempt is being made to conduct business as usual,” says Lorentiu. “Everyone will know that Markville continues to be open for business.”

The new food court is expected to open for Christmas 2012 and the majority of the new merchants will be open for business by Christmas 2013.

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