Retail renaissance in full swing for Windsor's Dorwin Plaza

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

CBC News


Summer 'soft launch' with new restaurants and other tenants planned

It was Windsor's first shopping centre, and it's seen better days.

The derelict Dorwin Plaza was first built on Dougall Avenue in 1957 on the site of a former campground. It was the first suburban shopping centre of its kind for the city.

Once home to anchor stores like A&P, and the now defunct Sentry department store, the plaza itself has fallen into urban sprawl with only a handful of shops remaining — capacity at the site is closer to 25 stores.

In December 2017, local realtor Albert Kantarjian purchased the crumbling landmark and invested toward rejuvenating the building. Work started in January of this year with a focus on redoing the roof and several units ahead of welcoming new tenants. Kantarijan says the parking lot is also being paved this week.

"There is going to be a few new restaurants opening up, as well as a few anchor tenants," Kantarjian told CBC Windsor. "The focus, so far, has been medical. I have doctors and medical offices opening up. So far I'm at about 70 per cent occupancy."

"My guys have been working around the clock to make it happen on time," he added.  "We're shooting for summer of 2018 for a soft launch. This area will appeal to a vast array of people, for a wide and diverse shopping demographic."

All current tenants, including Service Ontario, Refresh Day Spa and Honey Bee Ham Co. plan to remain at the plaza.

Honey Bee Ham Co. owner Kevin Brode believes this is the start of the new renaissance.

"It's exciting," Brode said. "Over the years I've seen the good times, and the bad times here at Dorwin. The last few years have been tough. More people here in the area means more business for us and more customers for lunch."