Whether or not the Prince George Wal-Mart opens its doors in 2002 or in 2003 will be decided by the weather.
Darren Kwiatkowski of First Professional Management the developers of the Wal-Mart’s future home, the Westgate Mall near the corner of Highway 16 and Domano Boulvard said a dry summer will mean a 2002 opening, while wet weather could delay it until early 2003.
“(The Westgate development) is on schedule but it depends now a little on the weather,” said Kwiatkowski. “Wet weather slows down the site preparation and makes it slower to move the earth.”
Two dates have been pegged for turnover when Wal-Mart officially takes posession of their 129,000 square foot site in the Westgate mall based on how the summer construction goes.
Kwiatkowski said if the summer is relatively dry the keys could be handed over to Wal-Mart by the first week of October. If the summer is precipitation-heavy, turnover of the store could be delayed until early December. In either case, he said, it would take approximately six weeks afterwards for the doors to open on the big box store.
Work being done this summer to prepare the site accounts for approximately $5 to $7 million of the 500,000 square foot mall’s $60 million total pricetag, said Kwiatkowski.
No other tenants have been named for Westgate so far besides Wal-Mart. Kwiatkowski said First Professional is in negotiations with a number of major “anchor” stores, but can’t release the names of potential tenants just yet.
“There is nothing we can announce or that’s been finalized yet,” he said. “We expect to have some announcements about anchor tenants within the next 60 days.”
The exact number of stores that will call Westgate home also hasn’t been decided upon and will depend on what size the anchor tenants want their buildings to be. To help along site preparation for Westgate, Prince George City Council recently approved an application by the developer to operate outside of normal working hours to take advantage of summer weather conditions.
Construction activites are now allowed from 5 a.m. to midnight for the period of May 22 to September 30, seven days a week.