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Old June 5th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #1
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Massive shopping centre planned for Abbotsford

Massive shopping centre planned for Abbotsford



Environmentalists say the $170-million project will launch a new era of commercial sprawl in the Fraser Valley

By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun
June 4, 2009





A shopping mall planned for an eight-hectare site near Abbotsford's Mount Lehman interchange will be a major retail draw for Fraser Valley residents, according to the city's mayor.

However, environmentalists see the development as the start of a trend that will see green space paved and sprawl spreading up the Fraser Valley along the Trans-Canada Highway as a consequence of the provincial government's expansion of the highway and doubling of the Port Mann Bridge's capacity.

"The potential regional draw for that centre is enormous," Abbotsford Mayor George Peary said in an interview about the $170-million, 600,000-square-foot Shape Properties development, dubbed Abby Lane.

"It's huge and it's got amazing freeway access. I think this will be the largest mall in the region. It will be relatively easy for people to get there from Langley, Chilliwack and Mission. Millions travel that freeway and they're all potential customers."

Opponents of commercial sprawl say the new plaza is an example of the type of retail they expect will pop up all along the highway because of the provincial government's Gateway Program to add lanes to Highway 1 and double the size of the bridge.

"They're going to sprawl all the way out to Chilliwack," Cathleen Vecchiato of the Fraser Valley Conservation Coalition said in an interview. "It [the expansion] is just putting more people into their cars."

Vecchiato, a Langley resident, said the planned highway and bridge expansion is fuelling a lot of development proposals, a trend she feels is short-sighted.

She said Abby Lane won't be the last of its type. She fears that a "big green section" along the highway in Langley and Abbotsford will see more development. "Once it [the highway and bridge expansion] goes in, it will be an excuse to build more."

But Peary sees the shopping mall as another sign that his city is coming of age. He noted that approximately 400,000 people visit the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre (Tradex) each year and another 500,000 people fly through Abbotsford International Airport.

The project, which has been given approval in principle by Abbotsford council, will have access off Highway 1 and draw people from as far east as Harrison Hot Springs and Hope. It is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2011 and will have a "trading area" of approximately 262,000 people.

Peary said the shopping centre will be a series of free-standing buildings accessed from the outside and that he's been told by staff that a huge Wal-Mart Supercentre could anchor the development.

There will also be many small and medium-sized retail tenants.

Peary said the mall is the first major development on a green strip beside Highway 1 east of the Mount Lehman interchange, and that other properties there will also be developed. He said the highway access for Abby Lane will be paid for by the developer.

Darren Kwiatkowski, executive vice-president of Shape Properties, said in an interview the project has the largest dollar value the company has ever undertaken.

"Along the Trans-Canada Highway, there's no development of that nature," he added.

Kwiatkowski said the shopping mall will have a "main street" style, with direct access to stores off the development's streets.

He said it will take about 18 months to construct and will have a mixture of small and large retailers and possibly a theatre.

Kwiatkowski refused to say which stores have signed on and declined to comment on whether a Wal-Mart Supercentre would be the anchor tenant in a 150,000-square-foot store.

He said the shopping mall would meet the needs of "a wide range of shoppers," and include higher-end family restaurants and fashion stores.

bmorton@vancouversun.com
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Old June 5th, 2009, 07:00 PM   #2
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Not familiar with that area but looks very sprawly.
Where are our greenbelt boundaries and growth plans when you need them.
In this retail economy, the timing is awful to even consider building a new mall.
Unless it is at a good public transport node, not a good idea.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 02:05 AM   #3
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Projects like this piss me off. Pro-sprawl development should be banned, along with vinyl siding and cheap asphalt shingles.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 03:13 AM   #4
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This mall will definitely attract shoppers from all over the fraser valley. Its location is good for its right off the freeway. I always enjoy outdoor shopping, so i'll be there once its opened.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 04:34 AM   #5
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You can't really build a shopping mall in Abbotsford without it being sprawl-y though, don't you think? And since Abbotsford and most of the Fraser Valley is sprawled to the max, I don't think this shopping mall will attract sprawl, because sprawl is what attracted it.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 04:43 AM   #6
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The root of the problem is obviously not from a single development... residential sprawl and commercial sprawl are both evil. Ban both. And certainly don't make it an attractive lifestyle by giving them all these shiny new bridges and strip malls. Who cares if the Burrard peninsula becomes the greenest place in North America when the eastern suburbs continue on eating up farmland like it's 1960?
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Old June 7th, 2009, 05:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoolmak View Post
You can't really build a shopping mall in Abbotsford without it being sprawl-y though, don't you think? And since Abbotsford and most of the Fraser Valley is sprawled to the max, I don't think this shopping mall will attract sprawl, because sprawl is what attracted it.
Careful, this one's been pushing for a second Wal-Mart, a Super Centre no less, in Kamloops. I'm beginning to wonder, if he represents someone, or is a developer.

Check it out- http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...4#post37882014
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Old June 7th, 2009, 05:30 AM   #8
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Yes be careful, I'm a crazy developer and if you don't watch what you say I'll level your neighborhood for a shopping center and 8 lane freeway.
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Old June 7th, 2009, 05:36 AM   #9
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Yes be careful, I'm a crazy developer and if you don't watch what you say I'll level your neighborhood for a shopping center and 8 lane freeway.
Great idea, while your at it; pave the planet.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 04:11 AM   #10
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as long as it brings in stores not already in abbotsford - if its just repeating whats there than its a waste
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Old June 8th, 2009, 04:21 AM   #11
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Don't think there are many stores in Abby.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 08:37 AM   #12
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Forget the environment, shouldn't everyone be absolutely livid over such a visual pollution of the landscape???
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Old June 8th, 2009, 11:22 PM   #13
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Don't think there are many stores in Abby.
the mall there is pretty big, has sears, the bay, the gap, etc.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #14
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I've only been there a few time, no idea that there is a big mall in Abby, where 's it?
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Old June 10th, 2009, 03:35 AM   #15
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as long as it brings in stores not already in abbotsford - if its just repeating whats there than its a waste
Its not for you to decide how many stores is enough. If the market will bear it then its fine. That is the free market system.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 03:41 AM   #16
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Yikes, some of you equate ANY development to the complete destruction of the environment. Such fear mongering.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 04:57 AM   #17
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Its not for you to decide how many stores is enough. If the market will bear it then its fine. That is the free market system.
And if the market can't bear it?

Abby gets stuck with a massive money pit?

By the way, when someone states that they are against something and you retort with your free market answer. It is redundant, since we are all the market and that person is stating their reaction to the supply issue.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 04:57 AM   #18
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Yikes, some of you equate ANY development to the complete destruction of the environment. Such fear mongering.
Yikes, some of you equate ANY development to be progress. Such fear mongering.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 06:03 AM   #19
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abbotsford is not that big - and there aren't that many stores to go around - so they abandon the mall and move and we get a ghost mall

the fraser valley is prime farmland to lose more of it is sad
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Old June 10th, 2009, 07:31 AM   #20
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Yikes, some of you equate ANY development to be progress. Such fear mongering.
Development is not fear. Its actually the exact opposite. Never heard of anyone fearing the overgrowth of greenspace but in reverse when it comes to ANY development, regardless of the size, out come the sky is falling conspiracy theorists.

Last edited by EastVanMark; June 10th, 2009 at 07:48 AM.
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