News / Ottawa

'Major Canadian retailer' coming to Sparks Street pedestrian mall: BIA

Things are shaking up on Canada's oldest pedestrian mall with the upcoming closing of high-end retailer Holt Renfrew and the addition of another big box store along Sparks Street.

Les Gagne, executive director of the Spark Street BIA, released few details in an interview Thursday, but told Metro a "major Canadian retailer" is coming in to replace part of the Zellers location that closed last year at 156 Sparks Street.

While Gagne wouldn't spill the beans on what type of store is taking its place, he said a formal announcement will be made by the company in the fall and the store would occupy approximately 20,000 to 30,000 square feet.

Holt Renfrew, which has a store down the street at 240 Sparks, announced Thursday it is shutting down operations at its Ottawa and Quebec City locations at the end of January 2015 as it restructures the company. Expansions are being planned in other markets like Toronto and Calgary, the company said.

The restructuring in Ottawa will result in 72 job losses.

"While the stores performed well and these communities were cherished, it was ultimately concluded that Holt Renfrew's enhanced specialty luxury business model requires a significantly larger store footprint in any target market and a deep assortment across a wide array of its core brand partners," the company said in a news release Thursday.

The BIA doesn't yet know which business will take over the space currently occupied by the Holt Renfrew.

"What we would like to see is a neat complement to our mix and what we have to offer on Spark Street," said Gagne. "Sparks Street is going to have the merchants that we've been wanting to have for a long time."

With the undisclosed retailer and the Bier Market coming soon, that leaves close to 4,000 square feet of prime real estate in the old Zellers location. Gagne hopes to fill that space with possibly a deli or cafe.