Survey aims to attract 'anchor' commercial tenants to downtown

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell

The City of Windsor, the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association and the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation are teaming up to collect information with the aim at luring anchor or a flagship tenants to the downtown core.

The survey will be launched next week. The website for the downtown BIA is, while the development corporation’s site is

“The timing is right,” said Windsor Business Improvement Association chair Brian Yeomans.

“The development of more residential downtown is exciting. I can’t remember when I last saw new buildings going up.”

With more residential units under construction downtown, combined with an existing high-density population, the groups are trying to collect data to make the case to businesses to fill the gaps that exist in variety of retail sectors.

Yeomans said an anchor tenant doesn’t necessarily mean a large business, but one providing key services.

“An ideal fit would be a grocery store, a bakery or prepared foods, a hardware and bookstore,” Yeomans said.

“An anchor tenant is something that would be a draw for people in the area — a place for residents downtown (that) they could walk to so they don’t have to get into their cars.”

Yeomans said at least two new developments, the Hive on Pelissier Avenue, and the Security Building on University Avenue have spaces on their ground floors for such commercial operations.

In addition to residential data, the survey is looking for data on the number of people in the workforce in the city’s core.

Among the questions on the survey will be:

  • The number of daytime workforce (number of daytime employees) before COVID pandemic.
  • The number of daytime workforce (number of daytime employees) during/after COVID pandemic.
  • Total workforce number (total number of employees — all shifts).

Yeomans said the survey would be aimed at both the public and potential business owners.

“We need to find out from potential businesses things like how much square footage do they need,” Yeomans said. “What type of business are they?

“Are they new in business? Are they looking to invest and are they the right fit?”

He added the downtown BIA offers a variety of supports and programs that can be tailored to support new businesses in the core.

“We can work with new businesses to help them get through the first-year challenges,” Yeomans said. “A lot has changed in the past four months.

“I see some great opportunities to make things happen. We have an energy downtown we haven’t seen happen in awhile.”