Target closure to leave empty retail space

GoodLife Fitness poised to take over some locations

After U.S. retailer Target announced on Jan. 15 it will close all of its 133 stores in Canada, landlords were about to be stuck with empty retail space, including two locations in East York: Shoppers World Danforth and the East York Town Centre.

Edyth Karwecki, general manager of the East York Town Centre, which is owned by Morguard Investments Limited, declined to comment, but did say everything is business as usual right now. More information will be released in the weeks and months ahead, he said.

Some customers would like to see a Walmart replace the soon-to-be vacant space.

“A lot of people I know who go to that mall also go to Walmart […] it will be a great success there, especially with the low prices,” says self-described bargain-shopper Nazaneen Baqizada.

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns Shoppers World Danforth, did not respond to requests for an interview.

GoodLife Fitness said they are interested in taking over selected Target spaces. GoodLife wants to expand to 400 fitness clubs by the end of this year.

“The former Target locations provide spacious and convenient locations that would be an excellent space for people to achieve their fitness goals,” said GoodLife founder and CEO David Patchell-Evans in a statement.

In 1999 when department store Eaton’s filed for bankruptcy, GoodLife acquired 12 of its locations.

Other shopping centres that had similar experiences when Sears closed, such as the Toronto Eaton Centre, attracted high-end American retailer Nordstrom, scheduled to open in Fall 2016.

Target Canada did not announce in their press release specifically when their stores will close. They are currently following a case-by-case method, which will take 16-20 weeks to process.