Volume 94, Issue 5


NEWS

Harris gives private U's thumbs up

Galleria welcomes 2,400 new jobs

UWOFA, admin wrap up a deal

Knife proposal seeks mandatory jail-time

Feds give prof $50,000 for stripper hunt

Ontario pollution hits all time high

U of T Bookstore hits the picket lines

Where have all the Christians gone?

Metropolitan

Galleria welcomes 2,400 new jobs



By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff



Economic prosperity could soon be ringing throughout the downtown, when a proposed call centre moves into the vacant Eaton's department store at the ailing Galleria Mall.

David Ho, general manager of the Galleria Mall, said the move changes a very weak commercial business in Eaton's, to a strong corporate presence in the form of the proposed centre.

"The possibility of employing up to 2,400 people in one place is going to give the mall consistent activity, seven days a week," he said. "This will be important for our business as well as the downtown area."

Ho said they looked at other possible ideas for the vacated space, including an entertainment complex and a possible site for London's new arena. However, the mall was converted into an office centre last March.

"We don't want [Galleria Mall] to be another White Oaks or Masonville. We don't want it to be a 'cookie cutter' mall," Ho said. "We want this to be a distinctive place that people will remember after they leave."

Ho said he feels customers have lost touch with the downtown area and are intimidated by it. He said if the area is made less intimidating, then people will return.

Lindsey Elwood, chair of the London Downtown Business Association, said he was also excited about the direction in which the downtown core is heading. "These people are not just going to sit at their cubicles," he said, of the potential business 2,400 new employees could stimulate.

"People will be eating downtown, shopping downtown," Elwood said. "Surrounding businesses are going to have 2,400 more people going downtown."

London Ward 5 City Councillor Bud Polhill, said while the corporate development in the vacant Eaton's space was not the direction the City had planned to pursue, he thinks it will work.

"[Council] didn't expect it to go that route. We thought about more residential buildings in the downtown," he said. "There are a lot of sites that could be converted into housing and condominiums."

Polhill said having 2,400 people downtown everyday is a very positive move, but added the key to its success will be to have those same people there all the time. "Once you have a constant customer base, anything you draw on top of that is a bonus."


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