Shoppers Drug Mart, two Asian restaurants, daycare and community coffee shop among businesses that have been lined up.
We have official news to report on Griesbach Village, the commercial center in the southeast corner of Griesbach. Jay McMartin, President of Brentwood Developments and his associate Kyle Braithwaite recently met with the Griesbach Community League Board of Directors to provide an update.
In March of 2015, Brentwood Developments purchased the commercial area from Canada Lands Company and immediately began design and construction. The company was founded in Edmonton in 1997. They own, develop and manage commercial and residential real estate projects across the country and into the United States.
“We made a significant investment in Griesbach Village because we believe in it,” McMartin told the GCL Board. “Once construction began we saw an immediate increase in leasing activity.”
This is good news for Griesbach residents, who have waited patiently for the long-promised retail center.
So, the million- dollar question on everyone’s mind: What tenants are moving in – and when?”
The two buildings you see under construction are scheduled to open this fall, sometime between early September to late October.
Shoppers Drug Mart will occupy Building 1, along Griesbach Parade. They will move to Griesbach from their current location in Rosslyn Shopping Centre. It will be a bright, spacious, modern design. As we understand it, they will offer a limited selection of grocery items – similar to what is available at Namao Centre.
Building 2 will open at approximately the same time. Tenants will include two restaurants. One of the north’s best kept secrets, Mt. Fuji, is moving to Griesbach from Namao Centre. They are known for sushi, sashimi, maki, tempura, bento and udon soup. The new Mt Fuji will be much larger than the existing location. Joining it will be a new Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Ever: welcome news for lovers of fresh salad rolls, nourishing soup and refreshing vermicelli dishes.
Good Earth Café is looking to open a location in Building 2: provided it can find a franchisee (if you’re interested, visit their website). Established in Alberta in 1991, Good Earth now has over 40 locations throughout the province. They are known for a friendly atmosphere for enjoying coffee, fresh sandwiches and warm conversation. Building 2 will also include a fitness center and a nail salon.
According to McMartin, construction on Building 9 is set to begin immediately. Buildings 6, 7 and 10 are slated to move forward next spring or summer. While contracts need to be formalized, tenants include a daycare, a boutique pet supply store, a dentist and a chiropractor.
Further down the road, Brentwood is looking at introducing two multi-unit residential building, which will likely be marketed as high quality rental units. A drive through is being planned, though no tenant has been announced.
McMartin noted this a complex development due to Griesbach’s stringent architectural guidelines, site design and absence of an anchor tenant to draw traffic. Yet he is confident the tenants they are attracting will make Griesbach Village a destination for residents and those from surrounding communities alike.
The Sobeys Saga
You’ve no doubt heard the story in whole or in part. Sobeys purchased a large section of land in the southeast corner of Griesbach and were set to become the anchor store of the Griesbach commercial area. Then, a bombshell was dropped: Sobeys purchased Canada Safeway as part of a national business deal. The Federal Competition Bureau required they shut down several stores across the country where multiple locations existed in close proximity… which included Griesbach.
Councilor Bev Esslinger was part of a group that met with Sobeys Director of Real Estate Development for Western Canada. They were informed that Sobeys has no immediate plans to develop this property, and it is not part of their next 3-year plan at this time. Sobeys did indicate that they haven’t ruled it out as a possible location in the future and are not willing to sell land at this point.
While there is some speculation that Sobeys may choose to move to this site once their lease at Northgate Centre expires, the reality is that they could sit on it indefinitely, which has an impact on the commercial space as a whole.
Sobeys’ contract (which is still valid) includes several restrictive covenants that prevent competing entities from opening on the Griesbach site: including bakers, butchers and flower shops (any of the services a Sobeys store might offer). It appears one exception is Shopper’s Drug Mart, which has a Canada-wide agreement in place with Sobeys, allowing it to sell a small selection of essential food items.
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done. Councilor Esslinger asked about having the restrictive covenants eased, to no avail. This situation is not unique to Griesbach. It has happened in communities across the country (and Sobeys is not alone in the practice). Despite numerous attempts to address such arrangements, there is sadly little legal recourse for affected communities.
One thing that residents should absolutely demand is that Sobeys maintain the site. Recently, it has become somewhat of an eyesore – as it has become overgrown with weeds and there are reports of homeless individuals camping on the site. We suggest you report your concerns about site maintenance to the City of Edmonton. Call 311 (or use the 311 app). The more of us who bring it to their attention, the City can act.
Griesbach Community League would like to thank Councilors Bev Esslinger and Dave Loken for looking into the Sobeys issue on our behalf, as it is a matter of great importance to residents.
We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Brentwood Developments and look forward to working with them to provide announcements and updates on a regular basis.