What's Happening with Centennial Mall in Brampton?
There are certain malls that feel sad to me because they're either dead or dying. Dead or dying malls are those that could generally utilize their space better, and are likely not as thriving as they once were. One such mall caught my eye in Brampton recently.
As a consumer and a Bramptonian, I'm pretty concerned about what's happening with Centennial Mall at Kennedy and Vodden. At a major intersection, the space is definitely missing an opportunity to thrive.
We have three major malls in Brampton: Shoppers World, Bramalea, and Trinity. If Centennial Mall stepped up its game, it could help support and serve our growing community better alongside those three. Shoppers World is undergoing a lot of upgrades to keep up with trends, and Centennial Mall might benefit from doing the same.
There are a few different sections to Centennial Mall: Food Basics, the new wing, and the old wing sandwiched in the middle. Food Basics is one of the only major retailers, and Kennedy and Vodden is a convenient spot for a grocery store, which is great. The new wing, though still not very aesthetically pleasing, consists of a bustling Planet Fitness, the new comfort food restaurant Uncle Bob's Country Buffet, and a dollar store. Finally, the old wing holds about 30 retailers, most of them independent.
For the record, inbrampton.com has reached out to Centennial Mall's Property Management team about whether or not there are plans to renovate. The mall’s team did not respond with information on future plans for the mall.
Here's what I observed in my walk around Centennial Mall.
Most of the features inside of the old wing are in dire need of upgrades, and some of the mall could use a little TLC. There's an odd juxtaposition of the new wing and the old wing, and perhaps with some upgrades to the old wing, the mall could look consistent on the outside at the very least. Honestly, I never realized there was more to the old part of the mall until I stepped inside.
I noticed some tapestries above my head in the middle of the mall that seem to have been hanging there for decades.
Here’s a little blast from the past—gumball machines (two of which appeared to be broken).
Their garbage cans and benches are not awful, but they're definitely from at least the 90s and could use upgrades to add to the look and feel of the mall. Thankfully, none of them that I noticed are broken.
When you step into the mall, it's comparable to taking a time machine into the 80s, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps more consumers would be attracted to the space if the decor was a bit more modern, and most importantly, not broken.
One thing I want to highlight is how interesting it is that Centennial Mall houses a bunch of independent, non-franchise retailers. Perhaps with a rebrand, the mall could market itself as the go-to spot for unique retailers. It already houses a gift shop, a convenience and gift card store, boutiques, and independent services like a dental office, an optometrist, an immigrant services centre, and a wellness centre.
Or, having more major retailers would be a surefire way to attract more customers.
Amidst these retailers resides one small, lonely, unbranded food kiosk, known as Frank’s to older residents. Besides Uncle Bob's and a tiny Tim Horton's outside, this is the sole food option within the mall. Regardless of if the food is great here, the mall could attract more people by having more options for food.
With all of the closed storefronts, and I saw at least three, perhaps new food options could open up shop? I'd love to see a bubble tea shop, a gelato and crepes joint, or a burrito place - maybe all three!
I've also never seen a mall with gates on the walls, and I'm sure they serve a purpose, but I just wanted to point out the awkward facades.
Overall, Centennial Mall might be able to use its space better to attract more customers and support our growing city.
Though Square One in Mississauga is a much larger mall, the old Target space there is turning into a Rec Room, which might be a fun spot for Bramptonians on a smaller scale in this space, or at least some sort of fun venue utilizing a section of the space, or the entire space.
As previously mentioned, Centennial Mall could even become the go-to mall for independent retailers and thrifting, since there are already so many independent retailers. This would require rebranding and modernizing the space.
There's a midway point at the mall where the food kiosk stands with the tapestries hanging above, and perhaps the mall could hold events or install art by local artists there.
As for the exterior, Centennial Mall could upgrade to a more modern facade all over, perhaps taking notes from Bramalea.
I'm sure that Centennial Mall has seen better days, and I hope to see it thrive in the future as an attractive centre for Brampton residents. Whatever happens to the relic, it is still a beloved space to many Bramptonians.
Do you think Centennial Mall can do better, or do you love it as it is?
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