Jay and Jolanta Konduros knew they had found the answer to their challenge, the moment they walked into the rejuvenated “The Shops” complex at Uptown Waterloo Town Square. The couple were seeking a second site for their successful Nougat Bakery, and Jay says, “When we saw this place, we thought, ‘what a perfect location!’”
Nougat moved in, early in September just one of five new business neighbours at “The Shops”, which is now home to 42 thriving businesses. Jay was immediately impressed with “the friendly welcome”, as well with the new look and feel of the shopping centre that occupies “the heart” of Uptown Waterloo.
“The Shops” have undergone a complete revitalization since two businessmen acquired the complex in a blockbuster deal in mid-2013. Now owned by local real estate developer Heri Polzl, of Primus PM, and partner Peter Czapka, of Tricap Properties, the retail outlets and offices that occupy the three addresses that make up Waterloo Town Square have a new look and a new attitude.
Primus has brought in noted Toronto designer Jessica Cotton to regenerate the look of “The Shops” with a new colour palette, dramatic gardens and floral planters, and other striking new features.
Waterloo Town Square has been called “the true heart of the city,” covering 6.23 acres, with 240,200 square feet of retail and commercial space, home to 42 local businesses, including five new tenants Carl’s Jr., Rogers, Quick Sandwiches, Vape for Life, and Nougat.
Long-time occupants of the burgeoning urban centre include a grocery store, a pharmacy, restaurants and food outlets, clothiers, specialty boutiques, financial institutions, personal care businesses, and more.
The Civic Square that sits in front of the main entrance is the main entertainment and special event venue in the city, with year-round activities including a jazz festival, a comedy festival, Oktoberfest events, the Busker Carnival, and much more. A Farmers’ Market is held in the square every Thursday afternoon. Twice weekly, year-round, people meeting at The Shops for 6km and 14km walks.
With the coming of the ION Light Rapid Transit service, Waterloo Town Square is due to become the most vibrant place in the region. Two ION stations will be located at “The Shops”, and the urban development sparked by the LRT, including the signature Barrel Yards, will see 1,500 new condominiums built in the immediate area. And for those who visit The Shops by car, there is plenty of free parking all around the complex.
Heri Polzl says with pride that Uptown Waterloo, always noted for its vibrancy, is bustling with more life than ever and he predicts that the ION will deliver “a huge influx” of university students to the shops, restaurants and nightspots of Waterloo Town Square. Waterloo’s Universities are home to 50,000 students, and university students will be able to travel on ION with free passes.
Thousands of Waterloo region residents, students, and visitors have already discovered the attraction of “The Shops” of Waterloo Town Square. They come to shop for groceries at Bob’s Valumart the only grocery store in the Uptown district. They enjoy the personal attention at businesses such as G&T Barber (serving faithful clientele since 1971!), Nail Care Salon, The Waters Spa, and Iris Optical.
Dining and relaxing with a beverage are huge at “The Shops”, with options ranging from Beertown to Zoup!, as well as Coras, Starbucks, Gourmet Pizza, Booster Juice, and Thai Sun.
“The Shops” have earned a reputation as a home for high-end fashion, with labels usually found only in Toronto; fashion lovers delight in shops like Channer’s, Sass, Erban Corner, David Findlay, Reitman’s, American Apparel, and Just For You Lingerie.
Shoppers will discover many wonderful surprises at ”The Shops,” from flowers at Charmed Flowers and Gifts, to original art from UpTown Gallery, to snowboarding gear at Sanction. There are shops selling the staples of modern life Wind Mobile, the LCBO, and Shoppers Drug Mart and boutiques with unique inventories, such as Tadpole Children’s Shoppe, David’s Tea, The Embellished Room, and Write Impressions.
“The Shops” has also proven to be an attractive address for financial and accounting institutions Scotiabank, RBC Dominion Securities, RBC Private Banking/Counsel, Pricewaterhousecoopers, KPMG, Knightsbridge, and Scotia Private Client Group.
Heri Polzl points out that, with careful attention to design elements and to the quality of businesses that call the complex home, “The Shops” has maintained a sense of elegance to compliment the vitality inherent in the entire area. With its relaxed patios and seating areas, the square captures the sense of the finest European town squares a place of exceptional ambience, ideal for shopping, dining, special events and meeting friends for coffee and conversation.
In other words, “the heart of the city”.
With a total of 42 thriving businesses, “The Shops” have limited space still available for newcomers, but the owners are still able to welcome a few new retail neighbours offering new products and services in this vital, urban complex, set in the centre of the action of one of Ontario’s most appealing cities.