Over these last few years, we have been keeping a close eye on new development at Division Street and the 401, also known as King’s Crossing. While there were concerns at the beginning of this project that a power centre might take business away from downtown and other locations in the city, eight years later it doesn’t appear as though the centre has had as negative an impact as was expected. (I will note that the blaring exception to this is the loss of our downtown Empire movie theatre, but it seems as though Kingstonians have moved on.) The opening of a bigger No Frills, while it took away a downtown store, has been an asset to those living in the immediate neighbourhood which was in serious need of a grocery store. Additionally, an LCBO, Beer Store and Canadian Tire have added convenience to weekly errands, and the Courtyard Marriott, Boston Pizza and outlet shops have created jobs and made this area a destination for shoppers.
There has long been speculation that another Walmart would open in this area – it was just a matter of time. Well, it looks as though that time might be upon us. The site in question is the old quarry on the east side of Division Street, which used to be home to a sports dome. Local developer Henk Doornekamp has owned the property for over thirty years and first spoke with Walmart officials about the potential project five years ago. A final deal would be based on zoning requirements and Doornekamp will be appearing before a city planning committee on February 18th with the hopes of seeing that through. If the proposal is approved, Doornekamp will go ahead with the deal to bring the retail giant to Kingston’s north end. Walmart has no intention of closing its west end store but to simply make this a “Walmart East” as a part of the company’s 500-million dollar investment that was announced last year to build 35 new superstores across Canada – while simultaneously closing 269 stores in the US and South America. Stating that this is a very small fraction of the company’s 11,000 stores worldwide, Walmart has made assurances that these types of closures won’t happen in the north.
With the development of this new large-format retailer being so close to becoming a reality, this week we want to know:
Does Kingston need another Walmart?
- No. (52%, 209 Votes)
- Yes. (47%, 187 Votes)
- Not sure. (1%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 402
The addition of another Walmart in Kingston will certainly bring with it a large number of new entry position jobs, which are much needed in the area. It will also make things much easier for people in the neighbourhood without vehicles to get what they need in one place. That being said, there is always the worry that huge, corporate retailers coming into the city will take away from a burgeoning downtown, leaving local businesses to struggle. While we haven’t yet seen a direct impact from the development of King’s Crossing, perhaps it is just a matter of time. What do you think about bringing another Walmart to Kingston? Is this a great new opportunity for shoppers and those looking for work, or is this another nail in the coffin for downtown ygk?
Thanks to Mike Mozart for today’s photo.