Mall owners look for new tenants as Galaxy Cinemas leaves Brockville

Cineplex's Galaxy Cinema in Brockville is located in the 1000 Islands Plaza.
Cineplex's Galaxy Cinema in Brockville is located in the 1000 Islands Plaza.

The owners of the 1000 Islands Plaza in Brockville say there is already a lot of interest in the 20,000-square-foot space that will be left vacant after the departure of Cineplex’s Galaxy Cinema.

The cinema occupies a six-theatre space in the open-air mall and is the only first-run movie theatre in Brockville. Cineplex announced last week that it would be closing the cinema after 18 years in business in Brockville.

“Our lease was up and we made the very difficult business decision not to renew it,” said Jason Benway, executive director of Quebec West and Ontario East for Cineplex, in a statement. He confirmed that the cinema will be closing July 7, 2024.

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The large hole in the mall left by the cinema could usher in a new era for the 1000 Islands Plaza, the owners say. Montreal-based Plaza REIT bought the mall, which was once enclosed, in 2018 for $14 million and transformed the 201,500-square-foot property into an open-air shopping centre.

Jason Parravano, chief operating officer at Plaza REIT, said that with an increase in tenant demand for Brockville, the mall is “hopefully bringing new life in the coming years.”

However, given that the current building was designed to house six full-size movie screens, Parravano said Plaza REIT is open to reconfiguring — and even rebuilding — the property based on future tenant needs.

“If somebody wants to reuse the space as is, we’re more than happy to let someone rent it, but that’s not a long-term viable option,” he told OBJ. “It will be difficult to do that, given that it’s a cinema and the configuration of it.

“If there’s interest in the existing space, we’ll make something work,” he added. “But it’s a specific building made for cinema, so if we need to go down the path to modify or demolish and build new, it will depend on the customer and what they want and the economics of reimagining the space.”

The mall is currently home to 23 stores and restaurants, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Leon’s, Dollarama, Staples, Kelsey’s and Bulk Barn. It’s a destination for travellers and road-trippers due to its proximity to Highway 401.

Plaza REIT has been “filtering many calls” from interested parties, Parravano said, as the owners look to the future of the Cineplex space.

“There are many people looking at it and we’re trying to understand what level of interest is here,” he said. “We have work to do with respect to figuring out what’s best for the property in the long-term.

“I can’t confirm the plans for the future, but some transformation is likely to happen,” Parravano continued. “The tenants are the ones that dictate how the property should look based on their needs, so we have to see what they want to do.”

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