Walmart wants to make the most of its downtown space in Maple Ridge by turning the former Target location into a ‘supercentre.’
It’s too soon to make any definite announcement, but that is what the company envisions, said Alex Roberton.
“It’s our hope that we can bring a supercentre offering to our customers in Maple Ridge, and that’s what we’re working towards.”
The permit process hasn’t been finalized.
Walmart announced last May that it took over the former Target location in Haney Place Mall. It was one of 12 leases Walmart acquired when U.S.-based Target left Canada after a brief foray into the market.
In July, Smart Real Estate Investment Trust bought the local mall from Narland Properties, a Vancouver company.
SmartREIT was formed in April when Calloway REIT bought SmartCentres and turned it into a real estate investment trust.
Maple Ridge council approved an earlier application for renovations to the mall.
Renovations continue at the west end of the mall, even though Target did a major expansion when it took over from Zellers.
“It does potentially go beyond cosmetic,” Roberton said of Walmart’s plan.
A supercentre would include a grocery section.
Once planning is complete, the company will know when opening day will be.
“We’re in the middle of the planning process right now.”
Coun. Gordy Robson said the renovations are good for the downtown.
“I think it’s a real positive renovation. There are lots of changes happening in the downtown. I think they’re good changes.”
Another 1,000 housing units are being built in the downtown area.
“That’s a lot of people,” Robson said.
“All we need now is a [rapid] bus.”
“This is great news for downtown Maple Ridge and we are glad to see this project move forward,” Mayor Nicole Read said in July when Walmart announced it was locating to the downtown.
“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.
Some of the renovations include changing from Target’s red-and-beige outside colour scheme to Walmart’s blue and white.
The loading bay will also get a concrete surface instead of asphalt, and a grease collector will be installed in the sewer drain.
The west end of the mall underwent extensive expansion previously in preparation for Target’s opening in November 2013.
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.