A large chunk of real estate in the Willowbrook Shopping Centre is being taken over by HM, a clothing retailer. The store is set to open at 11 a.m. on Thursday. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

New Langley mall owners have multi-use vision in mind

H&M opens in Willowbrook Thursday, offset some of the space left vacant by the departure of Sears.

There are 4,300 H&M stores in the world. Oh, wait, make that 4,301 as of this week.

The newest store is set to open Thursday, Aug. 16 at 11 a.m. in the Willowbrook Shopping Centre. But the shoppers are expected to start lining up hours ahead, since the Swedish clothing retailer is giving up to $300 off that day’s purchase to the first 300 people in line.

This major new tenant is taking over a large chunk of real estate along the west end, or oldest wing, of the mall. It helps offset some of the space left vacant by the loss of Sears.

The new mall owners from QuadReal are not letting the disappearance of this huge retailer in Canada hamper their vision for the Willowbrook site, according to their website.

In the short term, they say “we will be redeveloping the former Sears premises and the north side of the existing shopping centre to add several new and exciting concepts.”

They hint to fashion and home merchants, plus entertainment and food taking over some of that currently empty space.

Talking more about the future, QuadReal indicate they’re in it for the long haul. And, with the anticipated changes to transit in the region in the coming years, they’re preparing for significant growth and redevelopment to Willowbrook.

They’re will enter in discussions with the Township soon about the feasibility of adding a mixed use, “liveable component” to the mall in the mid-term.

Willowbrook first opened in 1979, and helped qualify Langley as a shopping mecca for the region during the 1990s and early 2000. Now, with a population explosion imminent, the new owners hope to be poised to handle the influx.

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