With Guildford Town Centre's grand reopening scheduled for Aug. 28, the last-minute work is underway to get the mall ready for its 70 new tenants, which are all expected to be open by fall 2014.
On Tuesday morning, about 108 business people were treated to a sneak peek of the GTC's $280-million expansion, the largest shopping centre redevelopment in Canada. The guided tour was hosted by the mall and the Surrey Board of Trade.
"This particular construction has created more than 4,000 jobs," said Peggy White, general manager of Guildford Town Centre. "We've done more than one million construction man hours. The new retailers have about 750 permanent jobs."
The new stores include H&M, the Disney Store, the Lego Store, Browns Shoes, Aritzia, Victoria's Secret, Sephora, Forever 21, Blue Ruby Jewellery, Jack & Jones, Bootlegger, Guess, Mexx, Town Shoes, Fossil, Danier and Saje Natural Wellness.
"We have 70 new tenants coming all at the same time, so that's created a few challenges," said White. "Some of them wanted to open as early as last weekend."
The expansion also features a parkade with 1,800 new parking spots and a new 1,034-seat food court with 16 restaurants, including A&W, Tim Hortons, Flaming Wok, KFC, Edo Japan, OPA of Greece, Subway, Thai Express and the Bourbon Street Grill.
The mall now has two "living walls" - walls that are completely covered by plants - both inside and outside of the shopping centre. White said the indoor wall cost $350,000 to put up while the outdoor one cost $800,000, and collectively, they will cost about $130,000 a year to maintain.
In addition, the mall now has a spacious centre court with a glass enclosed elevator, surrounded by a fountain with a waterfall running down the enclosure.
White said she hopes that the new stores, the food court and other amenities will keep people in Surrey for their shopping needs.
"We want people to stay on this side of the bridge."
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