Walmart will open its downtown store late this year or early next, Maple Ridge city said Thursday.
Council will look at a development application Monday for doing minor renovations to the former Target location allowing Walmart to take over at the west end of Haney Place Mall.
Target closed earlier this year in an ill-fated venture into the Canadian market. The U.S. company has now abandoned the Canadian market, leaving the space empty since the spring.
“This is great news for downtown Maple Ridge and we are glad to see this project move forward,” Mayor Nicole Read said in a release.
“It’s critical to have a strong anchor tenant in the mall, and a retailer who will draw shoppers who have been leaving town to get the things they need for their growing families.
“We all look forward to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.”
The renovations include changing from Target’s red-and-beige outside colour scheme to Walmart’s blue and white.
Walmart logos will also go up while the spherical Target bollards will also go. The loading bay will also get a concrete instead of an asphalt surface and a grease collecter will be installed in the sewer drain.
But the changes involved are to the facade only, says a staff report. No changes are planned to the existing form and character of the building. The west end of the mall underwent extensive expansion previously in preparation for Target’s opening in November 2013.
“The new tenant will attract business into the civic core and help promote activity within the downtown,” staff say in their report.
The advisory design panel which reviewed the application suggested that weather protection be added over the west doors and that landscape islands be added where shopping carts used to be stored.
More plants could be added so that all landscape islands are covered in vegetation, the panel suggested.
Chris Sherry, with Narland which owns the mall, said council has been proactive.
“Maple Ridge has been very supportive of our efforts to market this property and ensure that we can move forward with great efficiency to open this new Walmart location.”
The development proposal calls for an opening in late 2015 or early 2016.