|Location||785 Wonderland Rd S London, Ontario, Canada|
|Management||Bentall Retail Services|
|No. of stores and services||65|
|No. of anchor tenants||4|
|No. of floors||2|
|Website||Westmount Shopping Centre|
Westmount Shopping Centre or also referred to as Westmount Mall is a shopping centre located in London, Ontario. It is located at 785 Wonderland Road South at the northwest corner of Wonderland Road and Viscount Road.
In the late 1960s, London housing developer Sifton Properties began planning for a massive residential community in the southwest area of the city. The subdivision named Westmount was to be the largest planned community in London with over 30,000 residents. It would combine high-density residential apartments with low-density houses and townhomes. Also, recreational facilities including an outdoor pool and parks would be built.
In 1973, the mall expanded again and became fully enclosed with about 50 additional retailers, with Horizon as the main anchor. With this expansion, Westmount was the largest shopping centre in London, narrowly beating out the recently built White Oaks Mall.
In 1978, Horizon was closed and converted into an Eaton's department store.
By the mid-1980s, Westmount lost its title as London's largest mall with the opening of Masonville Place, and the various expansions to White oaks Mall. It was soon after decided that a major reconstruction would take place. The mall would be completely rebuilt as a two storey mall, with underground parking and over 160 retailers. Construction began in 1987 and was finished in 1989. The newly-rebuilt mall featured a Zellers, A&P, food court and enlarged Eaton's store.
In 1997, a six-screen Cineplex Odeon was added to the second floor.
By 1999, Eaton's was closed due to bankruptcy and subsequently converted into a Sears department store.
By the early 2000s, however, Westmount's fortunes experienced a slump. The vacancy rate in the mall took a sharp increase as 40 stores slowly left the mall. These factors could be blamed on the construction of big box retailers in the area, in particular along Wonderland Road. The size of the mall (built for upwards of 160 retailers) built in a city that can only support two large malls is another potential reason.
Westmount's relatively poor geographic location compared to White Oaks Mall and Masonville Place could be a factor in its downturn. Both of these shopping malls are located at opposite ends of the city, thus better positioning them to attract shoppers from a wider catchment area. Also, White Oaks Mall is closer to major highways and nearby communities (Highway 401, Highway 402 and St. Thomas), which makes it a destination for regional shoppers.
In April 2009, the TD Bank that had been located inside a commercial building at the corner of Wonderland Road and Viscount Road, was relocated to a standalone building just north of the intersection and within the mall's parking lot.
In July 2008, construction began on a new Cineplex Odeon movie theater in the mall's northwestern parking lot to replace the theater that was located inside the mall. The new Cineplex Odeon theater opened in May 2009, on the opening day of Star Trek.
In March 2010, the London Health Science Centre announced that, pending final approval from the Ministry of Health, it would open a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) kidney dialysis centre in the mall in the summer of 2011. This new centre will replace two of the four existing dialysis centres in London. The London Health Science Centre selected the mall over two other competing locations in the city's core. The London Health Science Centre cited the mall's free parking, proximity to the 401 and 402, and shopping and entertainment facilities, as key factors in its decision.1
In March 2010, Bentall LP, the mall's owner, applied to the city for approval to demolish 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2) of floorspace to make room for parking. The plans call for the Metro and the two clothing stores across from it to become a standalone building, and for the food court, former movie theater, and areas below them, to be demolished. Mall tenants complained to the media that Bentall LP had provided them with limited information about the development plan, and had raised rent too high and too quickly. Bentall LP claims that the planned developments are necessary to revitalize the mall and make use of vacant floorspace.
Due to the demolition plans and rent increases, tenants either relocated within the mall or left the mall entirely. The mall plans to begin demolition in the summer and complete its changes by the end of 2010. The mall's second floor is to be used for office space and medical clinics.2 The mall will be without a food court for 18 months.3
In October 2012, it was announced that the Metro store would be closing as of December 8, 2012 due to declining profitability. Over 60 employees will lose their jobs. The grocery store was one of Westmount's original tenants dating back to the opening of the mall in the early 1970s.4
- Norman De Bolo (2010-03-12). "Kidney dialysis centre set for Westmount mall". The London Free Press. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Norman De Bolo (2010-03-12). "Tenants displaced by mall demolition". The London Free Press. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Norman De Bolo (2010-03-15). "Tenants angered by rent hike, demolition, at Westmount mall". The London Free Press. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- Chip Martin (2012-10-12). "Metro grocery store closing at London's Westmount Shopping Centre cuts 61 jobs". The London Free Press. Retrieved 2012-10-12.