Haney Plaza businesses relocating to allow construction

Four condos get underway this spring

The thrift store that helps support the Cythera Transition House Society is looking for a new home.

And so are a few other little businesses as they get ready for a mammoth construction project in downtown Maple Ridge.

Cythera Thrift Store in Haney Plaza has to be out of its location by the end of March as construction begins on a multi-year redevelopment of the block of Dewdney Trunk Road at 224th Street.

Bruce Johnston, Tom Meier and SwissReal Group are redeveloping the entire area between Plaza Street and 224th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road and Brown Avenue for seven-phase, multi-year condo project.

The first phase will consist of four buildings comprising 154 townhouses, condos and apartments on Plaza Street.

Tina Collinson, business supervisor with the Cythera society, which helps abused women, said they need a space with about 5,000 sq. foot. with adequate parking and room to move in and sort donated items. Proceeds from the store help fund the society.

The current location is a good one, said Collinson, adding that it’s convenient for pedestrians and seniors.

“It’s a great location, that just it’s trying to find something really accessible for everybody,” she added.

“We’re optimistic that we’re going to find something. We just haven’t found it yet.”

The store has been in the Haney Plaza location for about a decade.

“At this point … we’re looking at everything that comes our way.”

Close by, Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is in the same predicament.

Owner Brandon Leong has been looking for eight months, but hasn’t found a 5,000 sq.-foot location that would be suitable in Maple Ridge.

He and his wife run both the martial arts studio and Oxygen Yoga and Fitness, which is next door. But the yoga store has found a place to go – in Westgate Mall, on Lougheed Highway near 203rd Street.

“There’s really nothing in the city that will accommodate the size that we need,” Leong said of the martial arts studio.

“It’s panic time for sure … really, on me, to find a place.”

Leong has been looking in Maple Ridge, but is also looking in Pitt Meadows. As the moving day approaches, the wider his search gets, he added.

The Habitat for Human Restore location, also in Haney Plaza, is in the same boat.

It’s looking for between 8,000 and 12,000 sq. ft. so it can continue to recycle building materials and home furnishings and offer good deals to low-income families.

Store manager Matt McDonald said the store received a year’s notice and has been looking diligently, but, so far, hasn’t found anything.

It’s difficult finding a place where bylaws allow recycling and retailing operations under the same roof.

High school students and inmates often volunteer at the store to gain work experience, while six people are employed there full-time.

Pitt Meadows could be one location, but nothing’s been confirmed.

He said the store may ask for an extension so it can stay open until just before demolition begins. But the store may simply close, putting people out of work and removing a recycling location from Maple Ridge.

Jeremy Towning, with SwissReal Group, said the project has been discussed since 2010 and tenants knew that when they signed their leases and have been given a year’s notice.

The company will try to encourage the businesses to lease the seven commercial outlets that will be available when Phase 1 of construction is complete by keeping leases as low as possible.

Construction starts in the spring and will take about two years.

“We want them back once we finish our development. Our focus is to be in Maple Ridge and to have the citizens of Maple Ridge running small businesses in that community,” Towning said.

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Phase 1 begins next spring. (THE NEWS/files)

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