It was announced on Feb. 7, 2019 that Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Mall was sold by Ontario-based Morguard to B.C.-based PCI Developments. (Submitted)

Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Mall has new owners, big changes in the works

Save-On-Foods officially announced as anchor tenants with $30 million in other investments

More changes are coming to the retail landscape in Chilliwack as the Cottonwood Mall has changed hands purchased by B.C.-based PCI Developments from Ontario-based Morguard.

“PCI Developments is excited about the opportunity to invest in Chilliwack, one of B.C.’s fastest growing cities and economies,” said Jarvis Rouillard, PCI’s Vice President Acquisitions and Leasing in a press release issued Feb. 7. “We are a Vancouver-based company with strong roots in retail, and with our purchase, we look forward to offering Cottonwood Mall local ownership and management, as well as building relationships with current tenants, attracting new tenants, and enriching the retail experience for the community.”

The news comes a little over a week after it was revealed to Save-On-Foods staff that the grocery store chain would be opening up its fourth local location in the vacant anchor tenant spot at the east end of the mall.

• READ MORE: Save-On-Foods coming to Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Mall

The announcement of the purchase of the mall also made official that Save-On-Foods would be moving in to the spot formerly held by Target and before that, Zellers. The grocery store will not take over the entire Target space, but 38,000-square-feet on the south side of the retail space.

“Save-On-Foods is a beloved B.C. brand that will provide increased daily foot traffic at Cottonwood Mall and create local jobs,” Rouillard said. “Grocery stores are a strong anchor for any community retail centre, and we believe a very important piece to our plan to renew and reinvigorate the experience at Cottonwood Mall. Save-On-Foods and London Drugs compliment each other well and we are pleased that they choose Cottonwood Mall as a key central location to serve Chilliwack residents.”

Construction on the new Save-On-Foods store is scheduled to begin this summer with completion targeted for later next year.

At the same time, the company plans to build a 6,000-square-foot pad in the south parking lot to accommodate two additional tenants, plus complete new leases for retail units both within the mall and on the north side of the existing Target structure.

This announcment of capital investment itself comes just a month after the announcement of the “demalling” of Chilliwack Mall across Luckakuck Way.

• READ MORE: ‘Demalling’ on the horizon for struggling Chilliwack Mall

Ontario-based SmartCentres Real Estate Investment Trust purchased that mall in 2017 and has a whole redesign in the works.

The developments at Cottonwood Mall are part of a “refresh” the company says may include spending more than $30 million, one of the largest capital investments in the mall’s 45-year history.

Future work will include modernizing the brand identity and signage, among other upgrades.

“Our capital investment in Cottonwood Mall is to ensure its longevity as a top community destination,” Rouillard said. “It is heartening to see seniors and families spend time at the mall, sometimes daily.”

Cottonwood Mall has 71 stores that are a mix of national brands and independent stores.

“We are looking forward to the exciting changes the new ownership has planned for our mall,” said Helen Crane, owner of the local COBS Bread Bakery, which has been at Cottonwood Mall for 14 years. “These changes will only mean a more positive experience for our consumers.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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