Eaton's Centre Unveils $120 M Facelift
A better food court featuring real china plates. A dramatic new lighting sculpture suspended from the iconic glass ceiling.
And a lighter brighter more airy feel throughout the mall.
These are the main elements of a $120 million facelift for the 33-year-oldToronto Eaton Centre,which attracts 52 million visitors a year.
“When we first opened the doors, it set a new standard for retail,” Wayne Barwise, vice-president of development for owner Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd., said in Toronto on Thursday. “Now, we’re about to do this again.”
Nearly half the budget will be spent refreshing the glass-domed upper floor, referred to as the Galleria, after the Italian mall that inspired the original architect, Eberhard Zeidler.
The rest will be spent upgrading the two food court areas, Barwise said in an interview.
The north food court, near Dundas St., will become a showcase both for local restaurateurs, such as Mercatto, and national chains such as A&W, Barwise said.
The food at all the restaurants will be served on real china, instead of plastic, paper and Styrofoam.
The south food court, near Queen St., will be served by one tenant, Richtree Inc., owners of the European-style Marché restaurant, and will cover 18,000 square feet.
In the Galleria, a stunning new light sculpture by British design firm United Visual Artists will hang suspended from the glass dome, starting above the fountain and stretching 100 feet in either direction.
No drawings were available yesterday so Barwise presented a photo of the one in London’sCovent Gardens as an example of their work.
The new sculpture will not interfere with the existing one, a flock of Canadian geese suspended at the south end of the Galleria, by Canadian artist Michael Snow, the developer said.
The renovation will include new glass and stainless steel finishes on escalators, floor railings and elevators, the company said. As well, new lighting and new flooring throughout the mall will give it a lighter, brighter feel, Barwise said.
Asked about the impact of the upgrades on tenant’s rents, Barwise declined to be specific.
“Rents change routinely. That will continue as normal,” he said.
The cost of upgrading the north food court will be partly borne by tenants, he said.
Cadillac Fairview is undertaking the upgrade in order to stay ahead of the curve, Barwise said.
“We’re the best-performing centre in Canada today in terms of sales per square footage. And it’s in the top five in North America. It’s not because the centre is not performing well,” he said. “It’s because we started out setting the bar higher and we want it to stay that way.”
The mall has recently attracted several major new tenants, he noted, citing U.S.-based lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret, shoe retailer Stuart Weitzmann, and Joey Restaurants Group.
Construction begins July 2 in the north food court and is expected to last 24 months. The mall will remain open throughout the project. The first phase will be completed within 16 months, the company said.
Toronto Councillor Kyle Rae, whose ward includes the Toronto Eaton Centre, said he welcomes the upgrade.
“The Eaton Centre needs to be cutting edge. They have to constantly refurbish, so it’s great to hear,” Rae said.
The upgrade is the biggest since the mall opened in 1977, Cadillac Fairview said.
Previous upgrades include adding individual exterior store entrances along Yonge St., and redeveloping the parking garage at Yonge and Bay Sts. to add Canadian Tire and Best Buy stores alongside a new business school for Ryerson University.