Hazelton Lanes set for makeover

[attach]4253[/attach]Toronto’s mega malls aren’t the only ones renovating themselves to the hilt: closer to the heart of the city in Yorkville, Hazelton Lanes Shopping Centre is in the midst of a renovation of its own.

The $10 million dollar investment, split between mall owners Hazelton Lanes Inc. and its two anchor tenants, Whole Foods Market and TNT The New Trend, will see the complete makeover of the centre’s indoor courtyard into a new piazza as well as a major expansion of both Whole Foods and TNT.

Ed Liu, VP and managing partner of Hazelton Lanes, who bought the mall in 2000 with business partner Stephen Chan, says the plans are, in part, the result of increased residential growth in area.

“From the beginning we saw there was going to be a residential explosion down the road,” Liu says.

There’s also a lack of a focal point for the community, he says, and the new piazza called the Oval Square, which will be located in the existing indoor courtyard, will function as a multi-purpose space where residents and tenants can hang out.

“We wanted to involve the community more.”

Expected to be complete by end of summer, the Oval Square will feature a curving staircase inspired by the one in the Louvre in Paris, large community tables and a platform that will function as a seating area when not being used to stage special events.

Meanwhile TNT, which used to occupy three separate stores, has merged TNT Woman, TNT Blu Concept and TNT Gallerie into a two-level mega store that serves as an anchor on the east side of the mall accessible via 87 Avenue Rd.

Whole Foods, which Liu and his partner brought into Canada after buying the mall, was busting out of its seams, Liu says. Slated for completion in October 2011, the new store concept will see the creation of a 50,000 square foot flagship food emporium with gourmet take-out and dine-in facilities.

Local architecture and design firm Johnson Chou Inc. is leading the renovation and has recently completed the TNT concept store.