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HomeSense to have a new home in a redesigned Chilliwack Mall

The revitalized mall plan calls for three, six-storey residential buildings and standalone retail
Plans for a revitalized Chilliwack Mall. (SmartCentres REIT)

Bold revitalization plans for the Chilliwack Mall would see a new HomeSense added to the retail mix.

Details of the proposed $63-million construction project were released on the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce website Wednesday, provided by the mall’s Ontario-based owner, SmartCentres Real Estate Investment Trust.

The plan is to keep tenants Safeway, Winners and Sport Chek, build new standalone structures, and demolish sections of the existing mall.

“Very exciting news on development in Chilliwack,” posted Chamber president Leanna Kemp as plans were shared. “We are very excited to host SmartCentres as members of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce and cannot wait to share more information as we receive it.”

They idea is to expand the existing Winners by 18,832 square feet to accommodate a new HomeSense outlet.

It’s all part of a concept to create a modernized, multi-tenant retail space, adding density with three, six-storey residential buildings containing 200+ units.

The old-fashioned enclosed style of mall, first built in 1981, is a “product of its era,” according to the plan documents.

“The retail landscape is continuously evolving and to adapt often means to change the built format,” according to the plan highlights.

“By replacing the enclosed mall with freestanding retail buildings, retailers will have better exposure, and their customers will have access to more convenient parking.”

Demolition of the existing enclosed mall of 67,673 square feet, which would not likely happen before late 2020 earliest, would be followed up by adding 47,821 square feet of multi-tenant retail space to be built out in phases.

The demalling plan was announced in early 2019 by SmartCentres REIT after purchasing the Chilliwack Mall in 2017 with the idea of replacing the enclosed mall with freestanding retail buildings.

Several development-related applications have already been submitted to City of Chilliwack for OCP and rezoning bylaw amendments, and a development permit application for the commercial component.

They’re looking at constructing three brand-new high-density six-storey residential complexes on a 2.63-acre chunk of land.

Rezoning and OCP bylaw changes for the residential component could be considered at a public hearing by September 2019, according to the estimated timeline included in the plan.

When WalMart left the Chilliwack Mall in late 2010, the owners then moved to the current redevelopment adding the Winners, Sport Chek and Reitmans as part of an $11 million redevelopment.

Plans for a revitalized Chilliwack Mall include three six-storey residential buildings. (SmartCentres REIT)

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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