The corner of Frederick and King is going to look a lot different early next year.

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Conestoga College President John Tibbits announced Friday that the college would be opening a new campus in Market Square in January 2020.

The campus will occupy 82,000 of the mall’s 250,000 square feet and will serve business programming to about 1,000 students. In the future, it will expand to teach other courses, as well.

“Locating this campus in Downtown Kitchener creates fantastic opportunities for welcoming these new students in collaboration with our vibrant business community in the heart of our city,” Vrbanovic was quoted in a press release.

The move will serve as a much-needed boost to the plaza, which has seen several anchor tenants leave over the past couple of years, most notably the GoodLife Fitness, which closed in December 2018.

Nordia, a call centre that had been in the square since 1999, had also planned to relocate its 350 employees to a new location by March.

It will also coincide with the residential building boom that downtown Kitchener has been enjoying, with over 2,000 new units planned within walking distance and thousands more accessible by LRT.

“I’m thrilled that Conestoga College has chosen Downtown Kitchener’s Market Square as the site for their new campus,” says Ward 10 Councillor Sarah Marsh in a press release. “This investment into Downtown Kitchener will support and grow our local economy, and showcase Kitchener’s dynamic and inclusive community to the world.”

The college will not provide its own food vendors at the location, it says, in an effort to support local restaurants.

The mall was purchased by Europro in 2016. Last year, when the news about GoodLife emerged, vice president of business development Craig Haney hinted that the mall may shift from its former life.

“Ten, 20, 30 years from now, this place will be different,” he said at the time. “It probably won’t be a retail mall.”

Market Square first opened its doors in 1973.