Midland shoppers can expect a more modern Mountainview Mall with a strip-plaza look and high-profile signage for attracting more tenants.

The new owner of the mall is Fredericton, N.B.-based Plaza Retail REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust). The $16.1-million sale was announced Aug. 26 by the previous owner, Vaughan-based OneREIT. The sale price included the County Road 93 property and the Kenora Shoppers Mall in Kenora, Ont.

Midland can expect to see renovations to the interior this fall and winter, said Jamie Petrie, Plaza’s chief operating officer, as well as multiple tenants filling the former Zellers space next spring and summer. The goal is for the retailers to be less tucked away inside the building and have more “boxes” with high-profile signage facing the street, he added.

Petrie said it is too early to say what new stores could be coming to the mall, but the company is interested in moving some current tenants into new spaces and seeing whether any shops around town may want to move there.

Plaza Retail owns 305 malls, plazas and restaurants in eight provinces, mainly Quebec and Atlantic Canada. About 100 of those are in Ontario, Petrie said. The two properties in this deal are the largest the company has ever purchased in Ontario and the only enclosed shopping centres, he said.

Petrie said the company has been looking at Mountainview Mall for a while based on several factors, including its parking lot being in good shape and its entrances having traffic lights.

Midland also has a “stable economy,” a population boost in the summer and is not far from Toronto, he said.

Residents in the area will notice changes to the mall in the next year, he said, adding the plan should lead to more local jobs.

“These things do take time,” he said. “It’s taking more time than ever because (retailers are) quite sophisticated about how they select what markets they go into.”