Ground was recently broken on a new 250,000-square-foot retail centre in Fort McMurray. The Centron Group – a Calgary-based real estate development and construction firm – commenced construction of Phase 1 of the Commons at Eagle Ridge, in cooperation with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, in May. The retail development is the final phase of a 10-year, 2,780-unit residential development in Centron’s Eagle Ridge neighbourhood within the Timberlea area of Fort McMurray. Begun in 2006, today there are approximately 7,500 residents at Eagle Ridge.
“We are very excited to be starting construction on the last phase of our Eagle Ridge Community in Fort McMurray with the Commons Retail Centre,” says Cole Harris, president and COO at Centron. “We are overwhelmed with the resilience and can-do attitude in this community and the excitement of the residents and retail tenants with the Commons project.”
Centron says the development will benefit the entire Fort McMurray community, and will address the shortage of amenities, restaurants, retail outlets and services in Timberlea in particular.
In addition to various quick-serve and sit-down restaurants, retail shopping, fitness, finance and other services, Phase 1 will include a Landmark Cinemas multiplex as the anchor tenant. The movie theatre will provide the newest concept in cinema experiences, including a 37,000-square-foot, eight-screen complex featuring over 900 premium-powered recliner seats, auditoriums in a full-stadium configuration, complimentary reserved seating, online ticket purchasing, giant wall-to-wall screens, the latest in digital projection and sound, and an expanded concession offering traditional fare and additional hot choices.
“Fort McMurray has long outgrown our current downtown location which is why we have been trying since 2013 to move forward with a new cinema in the community,” explains Bill Walker, COO, Landmark Cinemas Canada, which is headquartered in Calgary. “The Eagle Ridge development is ideally located and will have excellent tenants surrounding us.”
Walker is particularly enthusiastic about the new seats. “The real highlight of this new location is the amazingly comfortable seating experience,” he says. “Gone are the days of fighting over armrests, laying out coats to save seats and lifting your knees to let people pass. Customer feedback on the locations we have converted to date is amazing (including Country Hills in Calgary) and we are incredibly excited to be bringing this new experience to Fort McMurray.” He estimates the new cinema will employ approximately 50 full- and part-time employees.
Centron expects the first phase of the Commons to be completed in the fall of 2018, with the second phase planned to follow closely.