With the departure of Sears from its long-standing lease at Hillside Shopping Centre, there is a massive void that will need filling.

148,803 square feet of void, to be exact.

An area of that size comes with its own challenges, namely finding a retailer that could use that much space effectively.

We’ve speculated on 5 stores that could use the area, with some fun ideas to divide the space up, if necessary.

1. IKEA

We’ve all been thinking it!

What better place to put an IKEA than in the centre of Victoria? The giant blue box store does have its fingerprints on Vancouver Island, with two collection points recently added in Saanichton and Nanaimo, but no furniture is actually for sale there.

IKEA has stated that they are hoping to double in size by 2025, and their collection points are part of a strategy to identify “markets with potential”.

If everything goes as planned in their eyes, we might just see that familiar blue and yellow box store in town before long!

2. Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

The Bass Pro Shops at Tsawwassen Mills was the first of its kind to make its way to British Columbia, and has been a resounding success.

Visitors can experience their Outdoor World store, with a 15,000 gallon freshwater aquarium, artifacts from the Salish peoples, and an underwater themed restaurant.

With the vast amount of outdoor enthusiasts on the island, it could be the perfect fit for the Sears vacancy.

The kicker? Bass Pro Shops at Tsawwassen is roughly 145,000 square feet – a near perfect match to the available space!

3. Nordstrom

🍁🍂 F A L L 🍂🍁 #homedecor

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Nordstrom was founded back in the ’70s, a mere ferry ride away in Seattle, as a shoe store. Since then, they’ve grown into a massive luxury department store.

In 2014, they began their foray into the Canadian market, with stores opening in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver.

In Canada, Nordstrom faces the Hudson’s Bay Company as primary competition for the luxury department store market.

Given that The Bay operates in both Mayfair Mall and The Bay Centre, the Hillside Shopping Centre could benefit from an anchor tenant that offers different options than the other malls.

4. Jysk

Jysk is a Danish retail store focused on mattresses, furniture, and home decor.

They’re firmly established in British Columbia, with 9 stores in the province, including one in Nanaimo.

Given that most furniture stores reside in the Douglas/Blanshard area, Victorians in the eastern part of town might enjoy a furniture shopping experience away from the busier streets.

5. Recreation Facility: Paintball, bowling alley, indoor skate park

This one is a bit of a shot in the dark. But…

With nearly 150,000 square feet to work with, investors could get creative!

An entire top floor dedicated to paintball could attract the whole city, while bowling enthusiasts might be sick of heading out to Langford for a good ol’ fashioned game of 10-pin.

An indoor skate park could attract many skaters in the area looking to avoid rain, while also boosting foot traffic to retailers pertaining to that audience.

One can dream, right?

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