It’s the end of an era.
Sections of the Chilliwack Mall were being demolished Thursday to make way for redevelopment.
Chilliwack resident Arnold Nicholas has been watching the demalling process with great interest.
He posted to Facebook during demolition to say: “Thanks for the memories, Chilliwack Mall. It was fun while it lasted.”
The Chilliwack Mall burst onto the Chilliwack retail scene four decades ago, opening on Nov. 4, 1981.
Ontario-based SmartCentres Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) purchased the Chilliwack Mall in 2017, announcing plans to “demall” the shopping centre at Luckakuck Way and Vedder Road.
The demalling retail trend has seen a shift in the style of shopping malls from enclosed indoor malls with large anchor tenants popular in the 1960s, to the more modern clusters of standalone or multiple tenant buildings, surrounded by ample parking.
The SmartCentres REIT’s current site plan on their website lists tenants as Safeway, SportChek, Reitmans, and Winners, along with future tenants in new spaces like the Sardis Liquor Store, Johnston Meier Insurance Brokers, Debbie Rae’s Tailor Shop, Marbleslab, and Alpine Dental.
In 2011, 30 years after the mall opened, Winners, Sport Chek and Reitmans moved into the vacated Walmart space in an $11-million revitalization of the mall by then owners, Retrocom Mid-Market Real Estate Investment Trust.
In 2019, owners announced a plan to expand Winners by 18,832 square feet to accommodate a new HomeSense outlet.
Demolition of the southwest side of mall, at the back of the building started Thursday. The demolition phase will be followed by construction of multi-tenant spaces to be built out in phases, as well as future residential housing.
“Today marks the end of an era of this indoor mall but at the same time a new era starts,” Nicholas added.
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