A new landmark popped up over the summer of 2020, leaving many people curious about the story behind the “little Europe” on the corner of 120 Street and 107 Avenue. This structure currently functions as a photo op destination for most, with many people visiting to take beautiful Instagram photos.
Giordano Morgulis, the vice president of sales for 76 Group Co, developers of Manchester Square, provides insight into this new strip mall’s past, present, and future.
According to Morgulis, the building’s whole point is to create a destination, not just a development. The developers knew that adding murals would provide the perfect touch to the location. After discussing with several artists, they chose Alixandra Jade, a very talented local artist. The company fell in love with her first rendering of the Lady of Manchester Square from British folktales. These murals on Manchester Square have drawn attention from people all around Edmonton and were even “on the news in Australia,” says Morgulis.
The structure is inspired by a love for European architecture. “Right now, with the way that development is done here, it’s very rectangular, very boxy, very national, so we wanted to completely do something different,” says Morgulis.
Since the structure borrows inspiration from several European cities, a considerable part from Amsterdam and Paris, the developers debated using other European names like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, but settled for Manchester Square as the building’s towers draw inspiration from tower structures in Manchester City, UK.
Manchester Square stands out from other strip malls in Edmonton in an obvious way, but its real distinction is that it is built specifically for local brands. The developers are insistent that all tenants be local, so don’t expect to see international brands like McDonald’s or Starbucks in this mall.
With the unexpected lockdown due to COVID causing a lot of hardship on local businesses, 76 Group is doing all they can to support Edmontonians in these times. According to Morgulis, the company requires corporate guarantees rather than personal guarantees on their leases, which means renters will not risk their assets like houses or cars. Manchester Square also leases its units at meagre rates. “Our whole goal was to be half of the Brewery District. The Brewery District, by the time you’re all done is about $75 a square foot, and we’re at about 37,” says Morgulis. They also offer flexibility on lease terms and aim to build personal relationships with their tenants.
Another feature that Manchester Square offers is the flexibility of the base structure. This feature makes the building accommodate more or fewer tenants as needed. The building is also eco-friendly by using repurposed bricks and will have electric vehicle charging ports in its parking lots, so, another win for the environment.
Morgulis says the company is pleased with support towards Manchester Square because “in the very beginning there was a lot of people that didn’t like it… including the city.” He adds that Manchester Square is currently home to Arcadia Brewing. The developers expect to see other companies such as boutique retail stores, bakeries, ice-cream shops, coffee shops, restaurants, wedding event spaces, bridal stores, custom suit tailors, chocolatiers, and a charcuterie, providing as much of a European vibe as possible.
Images courtesy of Sydney Leard.