Maple Ridge’s grand plan for its downtown continues to unfold as the departure of one business is filled by a larger chain, while a long-standing cornerstone of the downtown undergoes a facelift.
While MJM Furniture at Dewdney Trunk Road and 224th Street has closed, the empty 16,800 sq.-foot space soon will be filled by a new PetSmart, a continent-wide chain with more than 1,200 locations.
The new location in Maple Ridge Square is across the road from the Club 16, Trevor Linden fitness centre, which just opened in the former Maple Ridge library.
A PetSmart representative wouldn’t confirm the location, 22441 Dewdney Trunk Road. However, “Maple Ridge is an area we are currently looking at and we are hoping to join your community in the not too distant future.”
It is expected to open in late summer or fall.
At the same time, a few blocks south on 224th Street and Lougheed Highway, the Bank of Montreal building is getting an exterior refit and new windows, mainly to improve its weather proofing to protect the interior, which was renovated in 2012.
Branch manager Jayne Westwood said the project should be done by March and the bank will stay open in the meantime. New windows and signage will also upgrade the appearance of the branch, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in Maple Ridge a few years ago.
The building was constructed in 1933 at the Lougheed Highway location, followed by a major demolition, expansion and rebuild in the same spot in 1956.
New names are also appearing in west Maple Ridge. Council just OK’d a new building just off Lougheed Highway, allowing it to become a Langley Farm Market. The produce store, on the site of a former night club, will be 11,000 sq. feet and will have a wide canopy extending towards the sidewalk on 207th Street, improving things for pedestrians, says a staff report.
In the same area, the former Pizza Hut location on Lougheed Highway at 208th Street is also under renovations – to become a Browns Socialhouse restaurant, part of a chain with locations throughout B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Sandy Blue, economic development manager for Maple Ridge, said the interest in the downtown is encouraging.
“It’s creating a real nice vibe that people are really proud of.
“Now, every day, there’s evidence of more things going on.”
Blue said some businesses may not welcome a large chain such as Target setting up in the downtown – the store opened in Haney Place Mall in November – but that large stores draw people to the area, creating a destination for shoppers.
Blue said a possible new shopping mall in the Albion flats at 105th Street and Lougheed Highway shouldn’t hurt the downtown because it now has enough momentum and development to continue to grow.
Metro Vancouver’s regional plan identifies downtown Maple Ridge as one its eight town centres.
Shopping services in Albion could be complementary to what’s offered in the downtown, she said.
The District of Maple Ridge is currently negotiating a land swap for property in the area with Smart Centres mall development company.