web analytics
exploration of mall redevelopment for entertainment use in Niagara Falls region.

Mall Redevelopment for Entertainment

AEC was retained by this regional mall owner to explore the mall’s redevelopment for entertainment use, in Niagara Falls (New York).  As the design consultant for the project, we considered all manner of repurposing options that could best utilize the existing physical configuration and infrastructure of the shopping center.


The starting point established by client Cocov Destinations, was to provide an all-weather “participatory sports” and recreation facility, serving league and sports club enthusiasts of all age groups.  One competitive advantage for the property was the substantial grounds at or about the former shopping center and the potential for using additional nearby land also owned by the developer.


Formerly operated as the Summit Mall, the newly-dubbed Niagara International Sports & Entertainment Center (“NISE Center”) transforms a derelict 850,000-square foot shopping mall into a world-class sports facility.   More than 900,000 annual visitors are estimated to participate in or view the athletic functions currently committed in the facility’s first years.  This estimate includes the athletes, coaches, friend s, families and other walk in event related (coaches, administrators etc.) traffic.  The attendance number is expected to increase as additional leagues and events are booked.


Confidential – At client request, the rapid-prototyping (previsualization) image for this exploration of mall redevelopment for entertainment use, includes limited details only.   Shown below, a view of the defunct mall prior to commencement of revitalization effort by Cocov Destinations.    Note – this is an update to a prior post.



Defunct regional shopping mall, slated for redevelopment.

Water City Niagara Falls, a Cocov Destinations Niagara property

Water City Resort Niagara Falls (Ontario) – Conceptual Design

aec  Cocov Destinations (Toronto)  |  Location based entertainment consultants for massing and vertical structure organization for year-round ski structure with interior sports and recreation venues, major hotel and fractional residence towers, in planning.  An indoor water park and play area is a major component of the project.


Water City Niagara Falls consists of 51 acres situated in the heart of downtown Niagara Falls (Ontario) and proximate to the Niagara River. The land is relative flat and suitable for development without significant mitigation required. The scale of the Project site is somewhat unique given the urbanized nature of much of the city of Niagara Falls. The site is a former Canadian National Railway (“CNR”) property.  Canadian National Railroad’s operation at the Subject Property and the bridge, dates to predecessor rail companies beginning with a grant of charter in 1834 (to London & Gore Railroad). That rail charter became the first railway across southern Ontario.


The Property was acquired by Cocov Development Co. in 2015, through two special purpose legal entities formed for this purpose.


At client request, the images shown here include limited details only.  a product of aec‘s Rapid Prototyping Unit, combining feasibility results with preliminary project scaling, layout, and overall guest experiential design – created to assist Ownership group in confirming design intent and project budgets.




Consultant for Mixed-Use Development

Consultant for Mixed-Use Development

Consultant for mixed-use development to be located in the Niagara region of Ontario, including feasibility analysis and conceptual design.  The mixed-use project, with the working name “Cross Link Niagara” is a hybrid resort with substantial retail-entertainment and outdoor recreation anchors.  The project has since been renamed along with a change of ownership.  The project site is situated adjacent to the historic central business district of Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada).


StoneCreek Partners was retained as the feasibility and business planning consultant for this 51-acre mixed-use development, for the purpose of preparing a property offering memorandum to describe the project to third-party investors and strategic partners.


The master plan for Cross Link Niagara includes a man-made downhill (artificial surface) ski slope, a retail outlet mall, resort hotels, destination spa, a family entertainment center (FEC), and additional destination recreation and attractions.   In total, the “mega project” is envisioned to encompass 2.1 million+ SF of gross buildable area.   Cross Link Niagara is envisioned as a multi-faceted mixed-use development that will augment and propel the Niagara region’s tourism industry with an array of new attractions.



Consultant for Mixed-Use Development

Shown here, the architect’s view of the area context for the Cross Link Niagara project, with the Niagara river at left of the drawings.


The artificial ski slope at Cross Link Niagara was envisioned to use a Snowflex dry slope technology and materials. Dry ski slope (a/k/a artificial ski slopes) mimic the attributes of snow using materials that are stable at room temperature, to enable people to ski where natural slopes are inconvenient or unavailable.  Dry slope skiing has been around since the 1960’s.  Many of the “dry ski” slopes are lubricated using mist or jet systems to increase speed and prevent damage to equipment from friction heat build-up.


Cross Link Niagara, LLC was the legal entity and owner of the project at the time of this work, and was subsequently acquired by Cocov Destinations (Toronto).


Conceptual Design for Sports Bar Restaurant

Conceptual Design for Sports Bar Restaurant

Conceptual design for sports bar restaurant with interactive media display walls and customer interactive games and contests.  A focus of the experiential design was in accentuating the game day guest experience with the additional OTT streaming possibilities with today’s micro broadcasting engines and private commercial networks.  The gathering potential for sports events and fan communities is relatively untapped and is the objective for this particular client group.


Our work included rapid prototyping of several alternative locations for the new sports bar restaurant, within a regional mall in the process of redevelopment.   The same concept is also envisioned for roll-out to casino gaming environments as part of larger sports book operations.  In the design and operation of the venue, the unique aspects of particular major sports is integrated to heighten the affinity with fans of American football, soccer, basketball, baseball, and the like, whether professional, collegiate, or at the youth participation level.


An interesting feature of the conceptual design for this sports bar restaurant is in the private event rooms each equipped large-scale media displays.  The rooms are intended for youth and adult league team celebrations, college and university alumni game-viewing parties, as well as social and corporate events.   A modular digital editing bay sits adjacent to the meeting rooms, to allow local live video feeds to the restaurant that are directly displayed to the media walls, or, stored, edited, and displayed once game-day participants reach the restaurant.   Some of the new niche OTT streaming apps such as Twitch are also intended to play a role in these meeting areas.  These same features are also intended to support local organizational team building events to be produced in partnership with a local team-building company.


Confidential – At client request, the rapid-prototyping images shown here includes limited details only.


Conceptual Design for Sports Bar Restaurant

The sports bar restaurant concept includes an arena annex in the bar area with several fully immersive games and contests, also to be carried on the large interactive media wall.

hockey rink design

Hockey Training Facility

Rapid prototyping of indoor hockey training and regional league play facility, planned for the greater Buffalo region of New York state.


Client:  Cocov Destinations – Toronto.  Illustration work shown here is a product of aec‘s Rapid Prototyping Unit, combining feasibility results with preliminary project scaling, layout, and overall guest experiential design – created to assist Ownership group in confirming design intent and project budgets.




Contact us for more information, we'll enjoy hearing from you.