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Desjardins plans to locate business centre in Rainbow mall

Plans for 11,000-square-foot centre to be unveiled at news conference Monday

The struggling Rainbow Centre Mall is getting a boost in its efforts to convert more of its commercial space to office use.

On Monday, details of a plan to build a new Desjardins Business Centre will be announced at a news conference at the downtown mall.

“This event will be an opportunity to discover the future site as imagined by the people who count on the cooperative efforts of the Sudbury community,” a release from Desjardins said. “Among other things, the aspects and advantages of the new space will be unveiled as well as the construction schedule.”

Richard Dupuis, director of the Desjardins Business Centre, and Jean-Marc Spencer, executive director of the Voyageurs Credit Union, will be on had for the official launch that will mark the official beginning of the project, the release said. The business centre is a $2 million project that will take up about 11,000 square feet.

That's significant, as malls across the globe are struggling to compete with big box stores and online shopping. In January, Robert Green, project co-ordinator with mall owners Vista Sudbury Hotel Inc., said finding new tenants is vital for malls in the modern retail environment.

“Everybody knows the retail environment all over North America is dying,” Green said at the time. “On the retail side, the general strategy we have is to go more toward services.”

The mall had hoped to attract the new art gallery and library the city has planned, offering a long-term lease and lower capital costs. It even said it could host the convention centre also in the works. But city council opted to build the three projects on land vacated by the Sudbury Arena. 

The plan is to move the arena as part of the Kingsway Entertainment District, pending the outcome of planning appeals aimed at stopping the project.