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Lansdowne retail stores fail to impress some Glebe businesses

Some Glebe business owners are less than impressed with the most recent additions to the retail plan for Lansdowne Park.

The confirmed tenants include GoodLife Fitness, Jack Astor's, Milestones, PetSmart, PharmaPlus, Sporting Life and Whole Foods.

Katherine Slack, the owner of The Papery at Bank St. and Fifth Ave., told CFRA News on Friday that it leaves a lot to be desired.

"It doesn't appear to me to be new and innovative. They seem like the standard mix of big box."

But Roger Greenberg, one of four members of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, disagrees. He said the goal is for 40% of retailers to be new to Ottawa or unique, and that means big box stores or chain restaurants can still count toward that target.

He said the group is pursuing local independent businesses.

"We have gone door to door, knocking throughout the neighbourhoods in the Glebe, in Westboro and in the marketplace, and obviously our website etc. So now, it's a question of waiting for prospects to come forward."

Councillor Diane Deans said Lansdowne Park may be a dining or entertainment destination, noting the addition of Local Lounge and Grill, South St. Burger Company and a Cineplex that will serve alcohol at certain screenings. But, she noted, clothing or housewares stores are noticeably absent.

"This mix of stores that I see here doesn't scream retail to me, doesn't scream that's where I'm going to go and fight for a parking spot."

Greenberg said the timing didn't work out to attract some big names in those departments, as the Park development was tied up in a court challenge. Other shopping centres have expanded and added new businesses, so a few small clothing shops are more realistic compared to a large-scale store.

He hopes all of the tenants can be announced by the time CFL returns to the capital in July, but admitted that getting those approvals in place can sometimes take longer than anticipated. There is about 20% of the total retail space that remains available to lease.

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