King’s Crossing: Phase Two

King's Crossing, Phase Two, Empire TheatreJust over three years ago, King’s Crossing laid down the first pieces of their plan to develop a massive, vacant parcel of land bordering Division Street and the 401. To date, the big box fashion outlet hasn’t spelled doom and gloom for downtown competitors, nor have the effects been negative for businesses elsewhere in the city. Phase one of the adjacent power centre stole the No Frills from Bagot Street, however the new store is arguably better and the residents in the community neighbouring King’s Crosing were in dire need of a grocery store. Other opportunities became home to Canadian Tire, Courtyard by Marriott, Boston Pizza and Starbucks; the typical trappings you’ll find in pretty much any other city. Like it or not King’s Crossing has created jobs, and it has become a destination for shoppers.

Phase two of the King’s Crossing power centre has been promised since the project’s inception, but aside from the endless piles of rubble in the surrounding area, there’s been very few hints as to what would take shape. That is until recently when a new boxy skeleton appeared on the corner of the Canadian Tire parking lot. Then came the whispers regarding the relocation of a major downtown fixture for entertainment, which is for all intents and purposes a done deal. So, just what might the next round of King’s Crossing development include if all the rumours stand true?

  • Empire Movie Theatre: our beloved downtown movie theatre is about to relocate and get a major, state of the art upgrade (pictured above).  Home to weekly student specials, participating venue in KCFF, the downtown address will either sit vacant for a decade or become something truly boring.  For King’s Crossing, the addition of Empire will spell even more traffic and spin off shopping and dining by movie-goers.
  • St-Hubert: two decades ago, this Quebec-based rotisserie chicken restaurant was situated across the street in what is now East Side Marios. Their new location will be located on the north-eastern corner of the Canadian Tire parking lot.  Surely St-Hubert will give Swiss Chalet a run for their money, but will their sauce be as good as we remember it to be?
  • LCBO: while unconfirmed in an official, documented sense, we’ve heard this rumour from multiple credible sources.  Placing an LCBO at this end of the city is logical, while it could be compared to decision to build the No Frills where they did.  That said, it remains to be seen if the addition of an LCBO at the King’s Crossing would result in the closure of one of their other locations around the city?
  • Walmart: phase two of the King’s Crossing power centre could be adding a massive retailer to the area.  Those who shop at Walmart out on Midland tell me that a second location would be a huge hit, as the current location is too packed and traffic congestion is a problem.  Questions remain about whether or not this will include a grocery store section, and if another Walmart would negatively impact other local businesses.

Considering what we know for sure (Empire and St-Hubert) and if the rumours survive (LBCO and Walmart), it’s safe to say that King’s Crossing will increasingly become a magnet for Kingstonians, visitors and traffic headaches.  While phase two will likely result in the closure of Empire’s downtown location, aside from the loss of foot traffic and parking revenues, I don’t see the other additions to phase two as competing with local businesses.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but Walmart’s core demographic aren’t the same folks who frequent downtown boutiques.

Do you think phase two will impact other areas of the city?  What other big box additions are you hoping for as a part of King’s Crossing?

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

28 thoughts on “King’s Crossing: Phase Two

  • big box additions make me sad… and I wonder if the City is going to do a better job at planning these box store areas any better, they are awful car dependent, traffic creating, and dangerous for pedestrians.

  • The relocation of the theatre outside of the downtown core will undoubtedly hurt a number of downtown businesses, including coffee shops, restaurants, and others. In addition, the opening of a second Wal-Mart would depress wages and pull even more profit out of the domestic Canadian economy. More low-wage earning retail outlets for a population already living beyond their means is not necessarily the best economic decision for a city that already has a depressed manufacturing base.

  • No harm in starting a petition for Empire to maintain operations at the downtown location. If enough people show they care, then who knows? They do OWN the building, so it's not like overheads are very high in keeping the place running. I am not sure how many students will be willing to cab it out to Kings Crossing on a regular basis to catch a movie, and they will also lose all the walk by traffic generated from being in a downtown location. Worth a shot I say.

    A St. Hubert sounds nice. I lived up in Cornwall for a year, oh what a fun year that was (sarcasm), and St. Hubert was one of the few good memories to come from that place. Much preferable to Swiss Chalet – although it looks like work is still going forward with "Moms" downtown, as they have recently changed the front windows to the opening garage style. Could 2012 be the year of the rotisserie chicken?

    The last thing any city needs is another Wal-mart, but I fear it will probably happen. Wasn't Wal-mart trying to build a store across from the Kingston Center a few years back? Pretty sure the city blocked it or something at the time.

    • Front page of today's EMC pretty definitively rules out it staying a theatre "not viable". Suggested it will end up retail with residential or office.

      Wal-mart did try and get the zoning changed on the Alcan property for a location there before they expanded the first one. I don't see any problem if there is one going out division. It was just a few years ago the IGA closed and considered a crisis that people out there didn't have shopping options.

    • FYI – Just heard that St. Hubert and Swiss Chalet are owned by the same company – Cara foods.

      • St Hubert isn't owned by Cara. They had given up competing with St Hubert closing their non QC stores and Swiss chalet giving up in QC years ago.

      • And they also own the Milestone's, Kelsey's and Montana's. Basically they have a monopoly on half the restaurants in Kingston. Hopefully independents can hang around with the added competition.

        • In addition to Harvey's. And they also just recently bought East Side Mario's, but then lost it to Fairfax Financial. It is nice that a Canadian company like Cara has largely been able to keep a lot of the U.S. casual dining restaurants out of Kingston.

  • Not sure if it has it now, but Walmart did used to have a sign inside that called itself 'Kingston West'. Foreshadowing their plans a bit.

    Also in the West End another US store coming. Says one that is not in the city right now. Ironically in same area as Lowe's which the City tried to fight and we know how that ended. Cost taxpayers $60,000 in legal fees. No fight this time of course because the Springers are involved. LOL.

    ‘Major U.S. retailer’ eyes land near Lowe’s http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3394

    • To be sure, it even highlights in the Whig article that you posted the fact that Springer Group signed an agreement to not seek commercial zoning on that property until at least 2014. Clearly, the City of Kingston is disregarding the creation of more urban sprawl in an area that is already prone to low-rise commercial development, which is against the City's stated policy to be a "green community."

  • The departure of the mainstream Hollywood movies at the downtown Empire could mean a great opportunity to really fill a niche with INDEPENDENT and foreign films. As a university town….an opportunity for 5-6 screens devoted to this genre would be fantastic…not to mention the only one of this size between Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto.

  • Only problem with that is Empire owns the building. I doubt they would sell it to another company that would be taking money away from them, regardless of the fact they wouldn't be showing the same films.

  • Guess I will have to use DVD rental (oh wait, Blockbuster went bankrupt). Oh, then I guess I will just use Netflix. There is nothing worth seeing at the movies that you can't see 3 months later on video rental these days, and moving the movie theatre to the middle of nowhere pretty much guarantees they won't get my business.

    • I agree that this move sucks and, although I usually save my theatre viewing for the drive-in, every now and then in the off-season, there's a film that's just more fun to see on the big screen. I saw Mission Impossible last week and some of those scenes were that much more exciting because they were bigger than life. If this new theatre added some improvement, like an IMAX, I'd feel differently about it (although I do really hate seeing business moved away from downtown – I grew up in Hamilton and saw what damage that can do). But you're right, like you, I will likely just wait for most films to be available on my own TV. It's a real shame.

    • I believe there's a billboard on Division near John Counter that states 11 Apr. Could be wrong on that…but it's very soon. Can't wait to see if it lives up to my childhood memory.

  • I think it's great that the 401 / Division area is finally getting service and retail / restaurant options. My parents live near there and will have more places to walk to, even a theatre. I thought WalMart was going where the soccer dome used to be? Behind East Side Marios? Otherwise who else could afford to do all the digging they're doing right now?

  • A Walmart at Kings Crossing would be nice. One of the biggest issues I have with Kingston is that so much retail has migrated out to the west end. There's very little downtown, and we no longer have a general store such as Zellers or S&R downtown. I live just west of downtown in the Williamsville area and it is literally easier for me to order clothes etc. off the internet than to go all the way to the west end. Gardiners Road is far too congested, especially around the holidays. Not only that, but there are a lot of people in the eastern/central part of the city, particularly students and seniors, who would benefit from having better retail choices either downtown or in the Kingston Centre.

  • We really need a box store at that end of town I really don't know why they are waiting so long to build it.????The other Walmart is so far away and way too busy…We need another Walmart now!!!! Don't like Target at all!! They could have 3 walmarts in Kingston and they would all do great!

  • Hi all…I see there is no new news about the new mall on Division at the 401….Land clearing and filling in is still in progress and I'm wondering if anyone knows if we are for sure getting a new walmart there? I have heard rumors of yes and no………thank you…

  • About 2 months ago now I received back from the planning committee of Kingston in a matter of fact letter that at this time there is no application for a new Walmart :(

  • Well St. Hubert didn’t last long which doesn’t surprise me considering all the other fast food joints in the area.

    I would love to see a Walmart there. It is a pain to to go the one now and it cost a lot to come home from there by taxi .

    I wouldn’t mind if instead of Walmart they get rid of No Frills and have a grocery store with better selections .

    • Burger King setting up shop in the former home of St. Hubert. This portion of Division is quickly becoming fast food alley with all the other deep fried dinners situated there.

      I'd previously seen a sign for an LCBO/Beer Store, but it looks like it was removed/moved.

  • At the moment in Kingston we have an open pit mine at Division and Weller.There are numerous rumours flying around as to what is going in there. A Wal Mart,Casino,Garbage Dump,Permanent Eyesore(that is a great attraction),Affordable Housing(can,t have that),A Nascar Track,,any ideas?

    • No idea what's happening on the east side of Division, where the soccer dome used to be but would be surprised if that turned into a garbage dump or casino. On the other side, the actual location of phase two, you can clearly see land being leveled and staked for new construction. This is where we'll see a Beer Store, LCBO, or whatever has been arranged to fill the space.

    • Public meeting held last December seeking zoning change for a walmart + 4 smaller spaces. Expected in 2016

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