YEAR IN REVIEW July: Wal-Mart arrives with new Mission SmartCentre

The rumours were confirmed to be true in July when the community learned that the giant retailer was coming to town.

  • Dec. 28, 2011 12:00 p.m.
Dignitaries broke ground for the SmartCentre development at Wren Street and Lougheed Highway on July 18.

Dignitaries broke ground for the SmartCentre development at Wren Street and Lougheed Highway on July 18.

It has almost been a given for the past year which anchor tenant would occupy the shopping centre slated to be built at Lougheed Highway and Wren Street.

But it finally became official in July.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held Monday, July 18, for the $30-million project, which is expected to pour approximately $700,000 into the District of Mission’s coffers annually through taxes.

The shopping centre, built by SmartCentres, will include over 117,000 square feet of retail space, with Wal-Mart taking up 95,000.

According to Andrew Sinclair, SmartCentres’ land development manager, an additional $780,000 in development cost charges will be paid to the district, along with improvements where Wren Street and the Cedar Valley Connector intersect with Lougheed Highway.

“This development will generate 150 to 200 construction jobs,” he said.

A further estimated 260 retail jobs will also be created.

Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes said while many complain about Wal-Mart, the reality is many Mission residents drive to Abbotsford to shop at that community’s store.

“This shows that people want Wal-Mart,” he said.

The store will help stem the tide of Missionites spending money outside the community, he added, a figure estimated at $103 million annually, according to the 2010 Employment Lands Strategy.

“I’m really excited about this project, it shows [Mission] is coming of age,” said Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce president Cal Crawford.

Mayor James Atebe said the announcement is a “great day for Mission.”

The tax dollars generated from the project represent three to four per cent if the municipality had to recoup it from residential taxpayers.

“The only way to make Mission a complete community is to bring in more business,” he said.