As Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) announces it will open in Saskatoon in spring 2020, Midtown Plaza is unveiling more details about the downtown mall’s major redesign.
MEC will be located where the mall’s food court is currently situated, with a storefront facing Idylwyld Drive.
The food court will relocate to the second floor space formerly occupied by Sears.
George Bevan, director of store development for MEC, said the company is investing between $2 million and $3 million in its 20,000 square-foot location in the mall.
It will serve 25,000 existing MEC members in Saskatoon, and 60,000 across Saskatchewan.
“It’s a really good base to build off, we’re really happy to finally be here,” he said. “We’ve been asked by members for a long, long time (to come to Saskatchewan).”
The new store will extend out and face onto a redesigned parking lot nestled on the corner of 20th Street and Idylwyld Drive.
The lot will also provide access to a new west-facing facade for Midtown as part of a previously-announced renovation to “turn around” the mall towards Riversdale.
The new food court —set to open on July 25, 2019— will have full glass windows overlooking Riversdale, along with a view of the South Saskatchewan River on the south side.
It will also feature 16 vendors, an increase from the 14 currently operating.
Midtown Plaza Manager Terry Napper said the decision to move the food court was made because the existing space is in need of major renovations.
“(It) would’ve meant lifting the ceiling off and sprucing it up, which would be disastrous for all the existing retailers in the food court,” he said.
He added that by putting the food court in a new spot, the old one will be able to operate until July 24, 2019 — meaning there won’t be any disruption in food service in transitioning.
MEC will be given access to the space in December 2019, with plans to open in late May 2020.
Bevan said they plan to raise the ceiling and install a timber canopy while providing a “white box” to allow their products to “shine.”
MEC provides bicycling and camping supplies and organizes community gatherings like running groups.
Napper also said about a dozen retailers will be replacing the first floor of the former Sears, but no deals have been completed.