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Maple Ridge Bingo Plex building looking for a partner

The co-owner of the Bingo Plex buildings says it’s ready for redevelopment. - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
The co-owner of the Bingo Plex buildings says it’s ready for redevelopment.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Another part of downtown Maple Ridge will be up for development in a few years – if there’s a partner with deep pockets.

Haney Bingo Plex on 224th Street will be vacant after 2013 if the lease with Great Canadian Gaming Corp. expires and the gaming centre relocates to new premises on 227th Street and Lougheed Highway.

Co-owner of the building, Bernie Stoelzle says he’s not sure what will happen to the Bingo Plex, a unique peaked-roof structure built in 1961, after the gaming centre departs.

The Haney Bingo Plex operated out of the building for years and remained in the location after Great Canadian Gaming Corp. bought the assets of the Ridge Meadows Bingo Association in 2008.

The company expanded the floor space, installed 100 slot machines and renamed it Maple Ridge Community Gaming Centre, prior to opening its new building on 227th Street, which is still in pre-construction mode.

“The place [Bingo Plex] is probably ready for re-development,” Stoelzle said. “We haven’t made any firm plans yet.”

Stoelzle said Great Canadian’s lease could be extended to 2014, but after the departure of the gaming centre, most of the building would be empty and Stoelzle would like to see redevelopment rather than just re-leasing the space.

But cost of rebuilding would far exceed the $4.5 million that the property’s worth. “Owning the land doesn’t get you far these days.” A partner to finance reconstruction is needed, he said.

Ideally, Stoelzle would like to see a residential tower with commercial on the bottom. “We’re close to the shopping and everything, so in my opinion it would make a wonderful place for older people. They wouldn’t need a car.”

Stoelzle was heartened by the fact that Target will replace Zellers in a few years.

The property is the latest in the downtown that could see transformation in the next decade.

Tom Meier, of Johnston Meier Insurance Agencies, has also proposed a multi-phase residential/commercial development for the block northwest of Dewdney Trunk Road and 224th Street. That’s currently before council and could see five towers, from 15 to 25 storeys, housing a hotel, seniors residences, an educational institute, condos, restaurants and shopping.

A public hearing is also due soon for the 120-room Port Haney hotel planned for the foot of 224th Street at the Haney Bypass.

Following the public hearing, the project goes back to council for second, third and final readings.

If approved, work could start in the summer or fall, with the construction period ranging from 16 to 18 months.

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