Whitehorse’s new mall a hit with tenants

Whitehorse's newest indoor mall is open for business, even if it's not quite finished yet. Northern Vision Development’s NVD Place had its official opening on Tuesday.

Whitehorse’s newest indoor mall is open for business, even if it’s not quite finished yet.

Northern Vision Development’s NVD Place had its official opening on Tuesday and, while the owners are still putting the finishing touches on the exterior, the new tenants seem to love the site.

“For us, it was all about the location,” said Jim Lindsay, co-owner of The Medicine Chest pharmacy, which opened a second location in the mall.

“The medical clinic made it an ideal space for us. I would say that’s the anchor business, at least for us,” Lindsay said.

“We were extremely busy at the other location, crammed in there like sardines,” said Tracee Vickerman, the pharmacy’s other owner.

She said the new building has been great so far. The pharmacy has been open for about a month and things are going well for the most part.

“The construction is a little frustrating, and there are accessibility issues right now,” Vickerman said.

“We had one person in a wheelchair who couldn’t make it through the dirt. We had to go out and push them through it. I keep asking when it will be finished. It sounds like Monday. On the whole, though, I think they’ve done a good job,” she said.

Bobbie Lucas is the executive director of the Teegatha’oh Zheh Society, a non-profit that provides support and day programming for adults with intellectual disabilities.

“We love it. This is quite a step up from where we were as far as professionalism goes,” Lucas said.

The society’s old location was out in the Marwell industrial area, which made transportation and community access a big challenge for the society’s clients.

“I think it’s really inclusive. It’s really diverse, there’s a number of different types of businesses here, so it’s really integrated. Community inclusion is a big part of our vision, and this is really enabling us to get that much closer to it,” Lucas said.

But the ongoing construction is also causing minor headaches for Lucas and her staff. There is no access to the mall proper through the Teegatha’oh Zheh facility because it’s not a public space, but some would-be patrons try anyway.

“We get people just wandering in here off the street trying to get to the mall,” Lucas said. That causes problems because the clients they work with need and deserve privacy, she said.

Once the front and side entrances are done, Lucas said the problem should take care of itself.

Another draw to the mall will likely be Robbyn’s Street Grill. The business moved from its old home in an abandoned gas station on the Alaska Highway to take advantage of the extra space and the prime location.

“We decided, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right,” said co-owner Robbyn Burke.

The new space is laid out like a mini streetscape with umbrellas and decorative streetlights. The idea is to keep the ambiance light and fun, Burke said.

The fare focuses on sports bar style food, with lots of burgers and fries, but also includes a dinner menu with Robbyn’s well-known ribs. Burke herself does a lot of catering and cooking for athletes in town, so you can also get healthier meals if you so desire.

But they’ve also taken stock of their neighbours, and included things like a coffee bar and kids play area, hoping to take advantage of customers who are already hanging out in the mall, waiting for pharmacy prescriptions or to see a doctor at the medical clinic.

The building’s commercial space is about two-thirds full now, including some tenants who still have to finalize their leases, said Northern Vision Development’s Taylor Love.

“It is a perfect location. That is number one the best thing about that place,” Love said.

“There’s 165 parking stalls, and it gives the public easy access from both Second Ave. and Fourth Ave.” he said.

Love said the developer didn’t have to do too much hunting to find tenants. Most people came to them when they heard about the project.

“It was a combined effort, I think. We’ve had a lot of interest from people for sure,” he said.

Some businesses slated to move in have backed out, though Love declined to say why. He said he’s not worried about finding tenants to take over the remaining spaces.

The building was vacant from 2007 until this year. Northern Vision started looking at it as a potential development just over a year ago.

The sidewalk paving should be finished by early next week, Love said. The siding will take a little longer thanks to the vagaries of northern construction. It’s being custom-made in Quebec, but Love said that should be done soon as well.

Rick Karp, president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, said the mall’s opening is “outstanding.”

“I think it’s great that we’ve taken a building that we used to say was an eyesore and Northern Vision Development have turned it into something that is going to be really great,” he said.

Karp is particularly excited about the coming indoor marketplace that NVD is planning. The idea is to give artists, craftspeople and small business owners a more affordable space to test out their businesses with market-style booths.

Love said that project should be up and running in about six months.

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the RCMP’s traffic services team examine police markers on Range Road after a six-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle near the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse on Oct. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Six-year-old hit by vehicle near Takhini Arena

Police were called to the scene around 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 25

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Watson Lake over the weekend. The cases are connected to three others in the community previously announced by officials on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two additional COVID-19 cases in Watson Lake bring total up to five

Individuals with symptoms and connections to the three other cases were tested over the weekend

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21. Elected officials in the Yukon, including all 19 members of the legislature, are backing the right of Mi’kmaq fishers on the East Coast to launch a moderate livelihood fishery. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Yukon legislature passes motion to support Mi’kmaw fishery

“It’s not easy, but it’s also necessary for us to have these very difficult conversations”

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Most Read