Just 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?