Paul Fairbridge

Paul Fairbridge

Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre slated for $17-million makeover

NANAIMO – Largest shopping centre north of Malahat to get $17-million renovation.

Vancouver Island’s busiest shopping centre north of the Malahat is about to get a major makeover.

Ivanhoé Cambrige, owner of Woodgrove Centre, announced this morning the shopping complex will invest $17 million to renovate the centre’s common areas, food court, entrances and exterior.

Julia Dow, Woodgrove Centre general manager, listed off some of the highlights of the renovation work during the announcement.

“We’re going to be relocating our guest services, so that will be removing the kiosk and putting it into a storefront location to increase the size by 1,400 square feet,” Dow said. “We’ll also be renovating the food court with updated amenities, all new flooring throughout the shopping centre. We’ll have new ceiling treatments, brand new lighting throughout and brand new paint inside and out.”

Some of the exterior painting started in August and interior work, which will also include new restrooms, is scheduled to begin in the new year.

This is the first major renovation to the shopping centre since Woodgrove was expanded and updated in 2000.

Paul Fairbridge, Ivanhoé Cambrige regional director of operations for Alberta and Vancouver Island, said the renovation is an opportunity to better serve customers and invest in the community, but also to attract new business.

“That reinvestment says a lot for our commitment to the property, it says a lot for our commitment to the community and, from a leasing perspective, it creates the potential for more opportunities, more retail concepts and taking an interest in the shopping centre, so it’s time,” Fairbridge said.

He said the new paint and colour schemes will be chosen to reflect light, making the centre’s interior much brighter and interior lighting more efficient, reducing the centre’s carbon footprint.

Charging stations for electric vehicles will be added in parking lots and wifi will be made available throughout for visitors.

Woodgrove Centre covers 69,820 square metres, has 140 retailers and is the largest shopping centre on the Island, drawing nearly 6 million visitors annually.

“The centre right now is producing about $540 per square foot average sales productivity. On a comparable basis, that’s significant performance and we just want to keep that momentum going,” Fairbridge said.

Renovations will be complete by November 2016 in time for the winter shopping season.