Renovations on Pine Centre Mall will start next week as part of a two-year project to update the look of the mall.
The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion Nov. 15, mall general manager Rick Nelson said, but he suspects work will stretch into 2006. Whatever cannot be completed by mid-November will be finished in January after the Christmas season.
“This phase will cost $2 million, which isn’t much for a shopping centre,” Nelson said. “But there is a lot more to come. There will be lots of major changes.”
The mall entrances will be remodeled on the outside and a new entrance will be built at the back side of the mall, he said.
“We’re going to have new ceiling treatments and lights,” Nelson said. “We will increase the amount of natural light in here.”
Pine Centre’s fountain and model paddle-boat will be removed, he added, but it hasn’t been decided what will replace it yet. The model will be returned to the museum it came from, he added.
The food court will be the focus of some major improvements.
“We’re expanding the food court. We’ll add at least two more fast food outlets,” Nelson said. “There will be a floor-to-ceiling brick gas fireplace with soft seating around it.”
In addition the ceiling, floor tiles, tables and washrooms will all get an overhaul, he added.
“A great deal more will be done in 2006 and into 2007,” Nelson said. “The mall is 30 years old and it needs upgrading inside and out, which it will get. This is just the beginning.”
The mall tenants have been very supportive of the move which will make the mall a more pleasant place to shop, he added.
“Everybody has been very positive,” he said. “When a landlord shows they have confidence in the economy, the tenants usually jump onboard.”
Already a number of retailers and fast food restaurants have committed to upgrading their look as well, he said.
With a strong economy in Prince George, sales have been strong and retailers feel the additional business will offset the renovation costs, he said.
“We’re going to use some of the new concepts people in Prince George have not seen,” Nelson said. “Everything is in place, we’re ready to go.”