• Carmen Marie Fabio

Pincourt hopes change in ownership will breathe new life into Faubourg de l’Île

PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

Occupancy in the 65-unit location has been declining steadily over the last few years and Pincourt elected officials say the mall’s new corporate owners are open to the input and ideas from the town to help revive the Faubourg de l’Île.

Following a dwindling commercial occupancy rate and a number of long established businesses declining to renew their leases, Pincourt elected officials are optimistically looking at a turnaround in fortunes for the Faubourg de l’Île Shopping Centre with news of its recent sale to Brossard-based Groupe Quint.

“It’s good news for us because it now means we’ll be dealing with a local owner,” said Pincourt Town Manager Michel Perrier of previous owner, El-Ad, being headquartered in Israel. “Whenever there was an important decision to be made, it had to go through Cogir (the operator), to offices in Toronto, then New York, then Tel Aviv, then back, a process that could take months.”

The news comes just as construction on Groupe Iberville’s commercial and retail outlet located on Boulevard du Traversier adjacent to eastbound Highway 20 is nearing completion, with Bank of Nova Scotia being one of the confirmed tenants.

Perrier said local ownership and administration will be more aware of markets and trends of the surrounding community and said positive results have already been obtained with the agreement finalized that welcomes Hart department store back to its former 30,000 square-foot outlet. “The group is in the process of looking at reopening some of the other stores in the mall. They’re determined to make a big turnaround.” Of the approximately 65 retail spaces, between 20 and 25 are available for rent after the complex recently lost longstanding tenants Fleuriste Alliance and Librairies Boyer.

“Many times, we proposed to the former operator that they need to have a new vision as to what the shopping centre should offer to the community,” said Perrier of the majority of the town’s residents who commute to jobs in the West Island or downtown areas, taking their shopping dollars along with them.

Twenty per cent of Pincourt’s population is aged 14 or younger, and the average citizen age is 39. Perrier said young families need not only food and clothes, but specialized markets including leisure, entertainment, and crafts and hobby stores. “Exploring those areas would make it much more interesting for the community to shop there.”

Perrier said the Groupe Quint is also in the process of trying to secure an agreement to bring a movie theatre to the location and an indoor playground facility for two-to-12 year olds, as first reported by Your Local Journal in July, 2015.

Perrier points out the mall shopping experience is advantageous for families with infants who are still in car seats. Rather than making myriad stops at outdoor shopping locales, re-securing car seats and seatbelts each time, it’s easier on the entire family to stay under one roof.

Though rumour mills were churning last fall amongst some of the Faubourg shopkeepers that the town was considering building condominiums on the site, Perrier disputed this. “More than 90 per cent of our tax base is coming from the residential sector – less than 10 per cent is from commercial. That’s not a good mix.” He said it would not be a proper vision for the town to consider converting commercial space to residential. “It doesn’t diversify the tax base and it would mean major work for our current infrastructure.” Perrier said the town currently has no intention of changing the zoning from commercial to residential.

“We’re trying to make this shopping centre a profitable operation for the community so they can find goods and service that they need, and keep them shopping locally,” said Perrier. “That’s the important thing.”

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