Old Newspaper StoriesPhoto Du JourWindsor

Devonshire Mall

From the Windsor Star – May 2, 1969

Artist’s view of centre

Fifteen months from now Windsor will have one of the largest shopping centres in Canada with the opening of the $15,000,000 Devonshire-Windsor Shopping Centre on Howard Ave. south of E. C. Row Ave. Located on a 65-acre site with paved parking area for 3,000 cars, the centre will include 500,000 square feet of retail area and serve as the base of employment for nearly 1,000 employees who will work in some 60 different stores including large Simpsons-Sears and Miracle Mart department, stores. The artist’s version of the centre shown above looks from Howard Ave. Photo left is the enclosed mall. The mall will be the focal point for nearly 60 national and local chain stores and all the shopping area will be temperature controlled. The photo above shows an artist’s conception of the interior of the mall which will feature a heavy wood beamed ceiling and indirect fluorescent lighting.

City store complex one of Canada’s Largest

60 stores in $ 15 million centre

By Bill Hickey and Jack Kent

Preliminary work on ground installations for the $15,000,000 Devonshire-Windsor Shopping Centre on Howard Ave. at E.C. Row Ave. has begun. The enclosed shopping complex will be one of the largest of its kind in Canada.

Cambridge Leasehold Ltd. of Windsor, developers of the project, have completed plans for the site and have established tenants for its 60 stores during the months since the project was announced last summer.

Feature tenants in the giant shopping mall will be Simpsons-Sears, who will build a 286,000 square foot department store, Steinberg’s, planning a 102,000 square foot Miracle Mart, and Famous Players, who have announced a twin theatre project for the development.

In addition to these three, whose participation had been disclosed earlier, Cambridge today announced 19 more firms which will lease stores in the mall. They are:

    Grafton’s(ladies’ and men’s fashions)
    Elk’s Men’s and Boys’ Wear
    Braemar Fashions
    The Place
    Business Girl
    Young Canada Children’s Fashions
    D’Allards (ladies’ fashions)
    Maher Shoes
    Bonita Shoes
    Collyer Shoes
    Shoppers’ Drug Mart
    Dominion Play World (toys and sports equipment)
    Laura Secord Candies
    Singer Sewing Center
    Seary’s Flowers
    Lizanne Fabrics
    Canada Trust – Huron and Erie
    Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

A spokesman for Cambridge said negotiations were at varying stages with numerous other prospective tenants. He anticipated no difficulty in leasing all the 60 store sites.

According to figures compiled by Cambridge, the complex will reach estimated retail sales of $25,000,000 to $30,000,000 annually, employ upwards of 1,000 full and part-time staff members earning annual salaries and wages of about $5,000,000, and pay the city of Windsor annual taxes of about $40,000.

The shopping centre will provide about 500,000 square feet of retailing space and more than 3,000parking spaces on the 65-acre tract.

Experts estimate that while the construction of the centre will cost about $15,000,000, it will require almost as much money again to provide carpeting, fixtures and stock for the stores in the complex.

J.C. Barrow, chairman of the board of Simpsons-Sears who was in Windsor today with other officials of his company and others associated with the shopping centre called this the “anchor store” in this new shopping complex.

Mr. Barrow said today that the Windsor store is considerably larger than was originally planned because of the market potential. It will be among the largest units in the Simpsons-Sears chain which will include 395 outlets across Canada including 35 retail stores. In addition the firm has major department stores under construction at Moncton, N.B.; Winnipeg and Kamloops, B.C.

Mr. Barrow said the decision to build in Windsor at this time amply demonstrates the confidence the company has in the stability and future growth prospects for the Greater Windsor area.

Included among the Simpsons-Sears officials here for the official announcement of the start of construction are Morgan Reid, vice-president; Arthur Torr, planning and development; D. S. McDonald and Hal R. Borden, retail administration; Charles J.
Dunn, general manager and Ray Lister, national publicity director.

Scheduled for completion in August 1970, the centre will be the only enclosed shopping centre between Detroit and London and the largest between Detroit and the Toronto area.

According to Cambridge’s statistics, the complex will serve a population in the neighborhood of 400,000 in Essex and Kent counties. Disposable income in this area totals $1,345,000,000 annually and retail sales now total $700,000,000, each year.

Cambridge estimates disposable income in this area to be 18 per cent above the national average.

Construction of the mall will proceed in two concurrent phases. The mammoth Simpson-Sears store will be built separately but in conjunction with the rest of the centre.

Simpson-Sears today announced the letting of the contract for foundation work on their building to Ascon Construction Ltd. of Windsor. The general contractor will be named later.

The remainder of the centre will be constructed by Eastern Construction Ltd. of Windsor. Toronto architects Petroff and Jeruzalski designed the structure.

The entire shopping centre will be enclosed and temperature controlled. It will feature fountains, green plantings and flowers and will be lighted indirectly.

The shops will open into the main concourse from both sides and will not have individual outside access. The structure will be brick faced, offset by copper colored cupules and border trim. Service areas will be concealed by brick walls and shrubbery, and boulevards will break up the parking lot and help route traffic. The mall will include a 200-seat auditorium and shops
will range from fashion wear to specialty items and service stores.

The centre will face Howard Ave. with the two-storey Simpson-Sears store at the north end and the Steinberg Miracle Mart at the south. The enclosed concourse will run between the two.

Development of the complex will allow for additional structures be built on the east side. The Simpson-Sears store will contain 55 departments through its two storeys and basement. It will be situated on 18 1/2 acres owned by the company and will be connected with the rest of the mall by a 50-foot-wide unobstructed entrance. The store will have five other entrances from the parking lot.

The store will feature poured-in-place foundations and first floor walls and pre-cast concrete for the second storey. The exterior will be faced with brick. There will be extensive landscaping around the base of the store and no display windows.

The store will emphasize fashions and wearing apparel but will carry a full line of furniture and home furnishings, housewares, major appliances, hardware, sporting goods and automotive parts.

It will also have a catalogue and telephone ordering department, restaurant, home decorating consulting service, optical department, hearing aids, watch repairs and insurance office. A repair service will also be available for appliances, radios, television, outboard motors, power mowers and similar equipment and an auto centre with 12 service bays and two gas islands and a garden centre will be offered.

Truck loading and unloading will be done underground in an enclosed area able to handle up to 15 trucks at once.

Simpson-Sears was formed about 16 years ago as a joint venture of the Robert Simpson Co. of Toronto and Sears-Roebuck and Co. of the U.S. Simpsons, and then Simpsons-Sears, has had a catalogue sales store in Windsor since 1940. The present store at 736 Ouellette Ave. employs 45 persons. No decision has yet been made on its future but it will remain open until the mall store is completed.

The Steinberg Miracle Mart will provide 20,000 square feet of food market space and 17 checkout lines. There will be 1,400 lineal feet of shelf and counter space. The department store in the Miracle Mart will offer 62,000 square feet for clothing. housewares, hardware, sporting goods, pets, gifts, cosmetics, notions, stationary, furniture and cameras as well as a pharmacy and restaurant.

Famous Players Devonshire Mall cinema will feature two theatres, one of 650 seats and the other with 452. The cost of the cinema project is about $600,000

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