The first store in the 20-acre, $200-million Highstreet retail development will open on Friday.
The Walmart SuperCentre plans to celebrate its new 152,000-square-foot location with a ribbon-cutting at 7 a.m. and doors open at 8 a.m.
Walmart store manager Brad Blankenagel said they don’t know how many people to expect on the first day, but it will be busy.
The new SuperCentre is similar in size to the Port Coquitlam and Chilliwack stores, and larger than the current Abbotsford Walmart.
Friday’s opening is the first of many phases that will occur in the coming year.
Highstreet is located directly off Highway 1 at Mt. Lehman Road, and will include 90 retail stores, anchored by Walmart, London Drugs, Marshalls and a Cineplex VIP Cinemas.
Other confirmed tenants include Old Navy, Bombay, Purdy’s, Lenscrafters and more.
Created by Shape Properties of Vancouver, Highstreet is one of the largest shopping centres currently under construction in North America.
Darren Kwiatkowski, Shape’s executive vice-president, acquisitions and development, said the complex, a 600,000
-square-foot open air shopping centre, is 95 per cent committed, with just a few retail and some office space remaining available.
The design of Highstreet allowed the developer to take up “less of a footprint” than normal. The retail centre is built on different levels, with some stores located above an underground parking facility which consists of about 1,800 spaces.
Kwiatkowski said they wanted to create a gateway to the city so it had to be a showpiece.
According to Kwiatkowski, the shopping world is becoming two ends of a spectrum. One end is convenience and price, like Walmart, where the customer can get in and out quickly.
The other end of the spectrum is a better social experience.
“People are shopping for entertainment. They’re meeting their friends, they’re shopping, they’re grabbing a coffee. So a more intimate, streetfront style, patios, is the other spectrum.”
Usually those objectives are found in different places, but Highstreet has “found a way to do it in one place.”