PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY SERENA AUSTIN / SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
During the Open House on Sept. 29, Wilfrid Laurier University invited students and community members to attend the unveiling of their future plans for One Market.
Once plans are completed, One Market will be a destination for arts and culture, entertainment, dining and retail shopping.
Part of the university’s plan includes opening a street food market on the ground floor of the building that opens out onto the walkway outside.
Beth Gurney, the director of strategic communications and community engagement on the Brantford campus, said this model will provide flexibility for vendors.
“Maybe [they’re] thinking about opening a brick and mortar restaurant,” she said. “[They] can start in a space like that and experiment and see what works.”
The university also hopes to open a curated retail space.
“Select brands, made in Canada products, maybe alumni opportunities. We’ve got some really great products that have been developed by Laurier alumni,” said Gurney. “So, looking at that kind of a concept as opposed to your standard retail fair you might find in a typical mall.”
Gurney said Laurier plans to renovate the three-theatre cinema located on the upper floor of One Market, turning it into a “modern and updated community cultural hub.”
The renovations would combine the theatres, leaving one performance space with around 350 seats and one cinema with 115 seats.
“Brantford has a long-standing unmet need for a mid-size performance space,” said Gurney. “So we’re working with the City on this project because it’s something that will serve both the campus and the community.”
Gurney said through polling of students and community members, it has become clear there is a strong desire for more retail and dining spaces downtown.
“We would want these to support our students, provide what our students are looking for but also support downtown revitalization in general,” she said.
Laurier purchased One Market in 2014 for $5.8 million. Gurney said the purchase of the 300,000 square feet former Eaton Market Square shopping mall nearly doubled the size of the Brantford campus at the time.
It is unknown what will happen with the Veritas Café run by the Graduate Students’ Association on the ground floor of the building.
The timeline for these renovations has yet to be finalized.