Craig Lochhead

Cloverdale mall plan supported by public

Response at open house? 'Bring it on.'

The public got its first good look at plans for the site of the old Cloverdale mall last week, and the response was positive.

Developer TL Housing Solutions hosted an open house on Jan. 18 at the Cloverdale Legion to show off its plans for the site. Roughly 120 people attended, and TL Housing Vice-President Craig Lochhead says the response from the public was overwhelmingly upbeat.

In an interview after the event, Lochhead said the overriding sentiment from Cloverdale residents was: “Great job, now get on with it.”

The development will see the old mall at 57 Avenue and 175 Street and the surrounding parking lot torn down (estimated demolition start date: Feb. 8) and replaced by a mix of commercial and residential units known as Cloverdale West Village.

Lochhead said the philosophy behind the development is to create an urban village that promotes walking, with small businesses and residences sharing the area.

“People at the meeting were already trying to figure out which part of the development they wanted to move into,” he said.

Construction on the Village’s first phase is expected to get underway later this year.

Phase one will consist of a single wood-frame five-storey building with 22,000-sq.-ft. of commercial space, an underground parking lot and 100 residential units, including one-bedroom, one bedroom-plus-den and two-bedroom suites. The structure will take up the eight-acre site’s southwest quadrant.

The development is expected to supplement Cloverdale’s existing town centre by bringing in new amenities for current residents and new customers for the existing businesses.

“Cloverdale’s main street is already a great place, the new development will add a little bit of energy,” Lochhead says.

Phase one will include a new club for the Cloverdale Legion. At 10,000-sq.-ft., it will be the same size as the current branch. As part of a land swap deal, the Legion will own the new club outright in exchange for the land where the current club sits now.

Glen Thomsen, chair of the Legion’s new-building committee, says the club will be able to stay open in their current location during the construction process and essentially move across the street when the new building is ready.

“It’s a good change, which will help ensure the Legion is in Cloverdale for the next 60 years,” he said.

The Legion will have the opportunity to own a $2-million mortgage on 12,000-sq.-ft. of additional commercial retail space. Thomsen said the Legion hopes to fill the retail space with banks, medical clinics, retail outlets or small businesses looking to relocate.

Another option would see the commercial property leased to TL Housing, which would bring in businesses to the site with sub-leases on behalf of the Legion.

Construction on phase one is expected to take 15 months, wrapping up in late 2012 or early 2013. Lochhead says phases two and three – set for the southeast quadrant of the site – will be weighted more toward residential space than commercial, with 5,000-sq.-ft. for retail shops and 140 townhomes (77,000-sq.-ft.) built on top.

Phase four – which will take up the northern half of the site – will have a similar commercial/residential mix, but the exact ratio will be determined by the commercial real estate and housing markets closer to the start of construction.

In total, the project will bring between 50,000 and 60,000-sq.-ft. of retail space to Cloverdale, as well as 400-450 housing units. Lochhead expects between 600 and 700 people will move into the area as a result.

Lochhead says the fastest possible completion time for the entire project is between five and six years, while the slowest would be seven or eight years.

Lochhead says a building permit could be issued as early as October, and that would mean construction could start late that month or early in November.

With the project finally coming together, Thomsen says Cloverdale is at a turning point and the future for the city centre looks bright.

“Cloverdale is going through a revitalization… it’s becoming another centre between Langley and Surrey Centre in Guildford,” he said.

editor@cloverdalereporter.com