A new, 5,400-square-foot home care centre has opened at Wetaskiwin Mall, in Wetaskiwin, Alberta – a city just South of Edmonton.
In Alberta, Home Care provides publicly funded personal and healthcare services. This includes clients of all ages, living in both private residences and assisted living facilities. Home Care’s philosophy endorses independence and complements the care and support provided by families and community services. In essence, Home Care helps to maintain a safe and independent living situation for as long as possible.
The Wetaskiwin Home Care centre is a home base for nurses to deploy from, and also offers a medical clinic, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
“The expanded space offers four treatment rooms and two consult rooms. These additional care spaces will allow us to provide more services to the clients in the Wetaskiwin Area in a timely manner,” said Lisa Barrett, Area Manager, Wetaskiwin Hospital & Care Centre. “Home Care provides case management, wound care, and many other services. This program allows clients to remain safe and independent in their homes and communities for as long as possible, while planning for the future.”
“The location is easily accessible and provides a beautiful space and parking for the continually expanding program,” added Barrett.
Jordan Martens, Director of Commercial Asset Management, for Avenue Living (which owns and operates the mall), said the company has owned the property since 2017. The mall is approximately 160,000 square feet of retail with about 30 tenants.
Since taking ownership of the mall, which was built in the early 1980s, Avenue Living has undertaken an initiative to rejuvenate the shopping centre and make it more appealing and attractive for consumers in Wetaskiwin and the surrounding areas. This new Home Care centre is part of that overall initiative.
“When it was built, the mall had three major anchors – Woolco, which became the Walmart; a Safeway and a Canadian Tire. Eventually, they all left for their own buildings. So at one point it was an unanchored interior shopping mall,” said Martens. “Now we’re bringing in new, exciting, relevant businesses to fulfill the needs of the community.”
Wetaskiwin Mall has embarked on a program to encourage an emotional connection to the mall – a key factor in the retail landscape.
“We want to get the right retail mix. We’ve also invested about $1.5 million on improvement projects; these include but is not limited to, fixing a leaky roof, repaving the parking lot as well as upgrading the HVAC system,” said Martens.
The Wetaskiwin Home Care centre is part of the health services trend Avenue Living is seeking to bring to the mall.
“We’re interested in similar ancillary tenants. We think more medical will want to co-locate at the mall, such as a pharmacy, a medical practice and dental,” said Martens.
“Those types of services will also bring general traffic to the mall. People who come to the Home Care might do some shopping while they’re there,” added Martens.
When Martens was a lecturer at Western University, he wrote a business case on Meadowlark Mall in Edmonton, where the playbook used was a move towards medical, which proved to be successful.
“That’s a solution that could work well for Wetaskiwin,” he added.
Wetaskiwin Mall is following an industry trend as shopping centres seek more varied tenants. There is a surge in entertainment, food and beverage, medical, fitness and other uses, including education, moving away from focusing solely on traditional retail tenants.
Even for a small community like Wetaskiwin, with around 13,000 people, the trade region is significant, with roughly 50,000 people in the surrounding areas.
“In the nearby rural areas, people don’t have as many services at their disposal,” said Martens. “We are excited to bring them new, exciting and relevant options at the mall.”