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SYDNEY RIVER — Efforts to turn a former call centre and grocery store into a 32,000-square-foot hub of retail activity are continuing.
Cape Breton’s Kennerknecht family is behind the development of the proposed Sydney River Square at 1173 Kings Rd. that was once the home of a grocery store and the Servicom call centre.
Details of a major tenant for the space are still expected to be announced this fall.
Negotiations also continue on other aspects of the space and announcements about those tenants could be made when news of the larger tenant is revealed, possibly by the end of November.
In a May 2020 interview with the Post, Wayne Kennerknecht couldn’t name the potential national tenant due to the sensitivity of negotiations. However, he believed that 5,000 people would be quick to sign a petition saying they want that particular company in Cape Breton if that reassurance was needed.
The Kennerknecht family acquired the building in November 2019 along with some additional parcels of land around it.
The first aspect of the project will use between 8,500 and 26,000 square feet. The second will follow after an upgrade to the building adds up to 6,600 square feet.
As many as six retail units of 1,500-2,000 square feet each are expected to be built as part of the second phase of construction.
Currently, construction is underway on the Kings Road building with a "90 per cent demo inside," according to the family.
A new Kings Road exit is being built at the site and is almost ready for concrete. A new guard rail is being constructed in the parking lot, as well.
An entirely new look for the outside of the proposed Sydney River Square will be part of the project and an architect is currently preparing those plans.
An extensive renovation is also underway at the nearby Sydney River McDonald’s restaurant that’s owned by the Kennerknecht family.
A "very high-end lobby" is part of that project which is expected to be completed by the end of October.