Toronto malls are dropping like flies as property owners maximize their vast land assets through bold redevelopments that either completely erase or transform long-established shopping centres.
This mallpocalypse of shopping centre redevelopment schemes around the city saw another target added to its list in 2022, when a proposal was tabled with city planners seeking a long-term redevelopment of the Malvern Town Centre, at 31 Tapscott Road in Scarborough.
Developer and property manager Davpart plans to demolish the suburban mall and replace it with a mixed-use community of 15 towers and over 5,700 residential units across 10 phases, a plan which has continued to evolve since the August proposal.
A website informing the public of the project plans was launched earlier this year, packed with previously-unseen renderings and other information about the mall’s immediate and long-term future.
According to the website, patrons of the mall have no need to worry about finding a new place to do their shopping any time soon. Though the mall will indeed be demolished in due course, the project website states that “the plan is to proceed slowly.”
It reassures locals that the first phase of construction is not expected to start for another three-to-five years, and that this initial change will only swallow up the southeast corner of the Malvern Town Centre parking lot, leaving the mall itself untouched.
According to the owners, the mall and a health clinic operating on the lands “will remain exactly as they are, unchanged during construction,” though both will eventually have to come down for later phases.
The first loss in retail space is expected to come “approximately 7 to 10 years from now” with the removal of a portion of the mall. This second phase will replace that portion of the mall footprint with a new mixed-use building as well as streets, urban squares, retail space, and parkland.
The aforementioned health centre, a mall food court, and a No Frills grocery store would remain during this phase of construction, buying local shoppers a few more years of visits to their local mall.
Phase three is expected to begin 11 to 15 years from the current date, bringing more residential, retail, and public spaces to what will by then be a fast-burgeoning community.
This phase is not planned to cut into any additional mall space, and all businesses mentioned above are expected to continue operating well into the 2030s.
But the mall’s final death knell will come during phases 4 through 10 of the community master plan, which is estimated to begin between 15 and 20 years from now.
The health centre, food court, remaining retailers, and the grocery store would all meet their end during these phases, though a new health centre and grocery store are planned to be incorporated into new buildings on site.
Toronto malls facing redevelopment now include Scarborough Town Centre, Yorkdale, Sherway Gardens, Fairview Mall, the ongoing redevelopment of Galleria Mall, Yorkgate Mall, Jane Finch Mall, Agincourt Mall, Atrium on Bay, Dufferin Mall, Centrepoint Mall, and Cloverdale Mall.
Several malls outside of the city are also targeted for major changes, including Square One, Bramalea City Centre, and Dixie Outlet Mall.