The long-awaited work at Parksville’s Wembley Mall started this week, with the site preparation for a new standalone Save-On-Foods grocery store.
“We can’t wait to get into our new digs so we can continue to offer our customers quality products, good value and great service in our new store,” said store manager Bruce Brown.
The project has been in the works for at least a couple years, with the city issuing building permits in December 2012 and site clearing work taking place a year ago.
Construction was held up by complicated negotiations between the grocery company, Prospero Group (which owns the mall) and potential new tenants for the space that will be vacated.
Save-On-Foods will build a new 4,831 sq.m (52,000 sq.ft.) standalone store beside the current store and rumours that Canadian Tire would take over the 3,251 sq.m (35,000 sq.ft.) existing space persist.
In November 2012, Canadian Tire Real Estate development manager Jason Maynes said they would be ready to move into the vacated space as soon as Save-On moved out, but they could not be reached for comment by press time.
Canadian Tire has been publicly working towards opening a store in the Parksville area since at least 2007.
The construction of the new store will also spark considerable re-working of the mall’s parking lot, including adding parking in the currently undeveloped space to the southeast along Highway 19A and new access to the highway 19A and Church Rd.
“We are very excited about this and excited for this great community,” Brown said, summing up sentiment that the new project will help spur business in and around the mall in general.
Construction of the new store is expected to be complete by the end of this year.