With the vision of transforming a former shopping centre into a hub for student and community activity, One Market is Laurier's most ambitious adaptive reuse project to date.
Purchased from the City of Brantford in 2014, the former Market Square shopping mall is being incrementally transformed into vibrant spaces that will support continued growth at Laurier’s Brantford campus, and attract community members to the city’s heart.
Plans for the reimagined space were developed in consultation with stakeholders from the university and the broader community, and will bring multiple offerings together under one roof, including student services, culture, dining, shopping and entertainment.
As a net new addition of space, One Market has the potential to double Laurier’s footprint in Brantford. The Brantford campus has a current enrolment of about 3,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. Two major phases of redevelopment will prepare the university to reach its next milestone for enrolment growth to 5,000 students and a further, future milestone of 8,000 students.
The mandate for One Market reflects Laurier’s priorities, including:
To date, Laurier has opened a Student Learning Commons for students to meet and study; launched the Level One Lounge as a fun place for students to socialize and participate in gaming and other events; and centralized student services like Academic Advising, the Dean of Students offices, Career and Co-op, and Wellness Education.
One Market improvements to date include refreshed public spaces, new flooring, flexible seating and other cosmetic updates, as well as significant structural and mechanical improvements. With student amenities in place, the next phases will focus on mixed use spaces open to everyone.
In April 2020, Laurier conducted research with a consulting firm to understand how the 300,000 square foot space could best meet the needs of students and the community. More than 900 students, businesses and community members took part in the survey, followed by more than 25 in-depth interviews.
The research found five key insights:
The future of One Market will be based on how it will best meet the needs of students and the community, which could include common meeting spaces, more food options and more retails options in the downtown.
Laurier has already developed plans for several community-focused concepts to be launched in One Market, including a street food market and a general store.
Discover the Downtown Brantford Cultural Hub, a future destination for creativity and arts in the city. The Downtown Brantford Cultural Hub repurposes the existing cinema spaces in One Market to provide a much-needed cultural resource and attract increased vibrancy to the core.
By renovating the existing movie theaters on the upper level of One Market, Laurier plans to create a cultural hub that would house a mid-sized 250-seat performance space, an art house cinema and a white cube art gallery.
The mid-sized performance space could accommodate a wide variety of productions, from local theatre to stand-up comedy to dance recitals.
The art house cinema will offer a 100-seat one-screen theatre with a 12-month program consisting of the best in international, independent and Canadian cinema, as well as festival hits, documentaries, mini-festivals, Hollywood classics, cult films and special series.
The proposed white cube gallery will be a flexible space to showcase artists, dance, film premieres, receptions and more.
In fall 2022, Laurier unveiled conceptual plans for a Community Cultural Hub and the future of its One Market building in downtown Brantford during open house events attended by community members, as well as students, staff and faculty.