With a massive redevelopment bound for University Heights Shopping Centre in Saanich, on-site businesses are closing up shop, including the resident grocery store.
A sign greeting customers at Save-On-Foods’ McKenzie Avenue at Shelbourne Street location says the store will be shuttered come June 25th to make way for planned upgrades.
“We look forward to opening a brand new store once the centre is redeveloped, which we anticipate will be in a couple of years,” a Save-On-Foods spokesperson told Victoria Buzz.
Though a reopening date has not yet been announced, the grocery chain encourages shoppers to opt for its other stores or shop online, with Fairway Market and Thrifty Foods also located nearby.
Hundreds of rental units coming to University Heights
In March, ahead of fourth reading and bylaw adoption at the District of Saanich, Wesbild Holdings transferred ownership of the existing 1980s-era shopping mall to South Carolina-based real estate developer Greystar.
“We believe that Greystar will be an excellent developer of the site, and we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth handoff,” Wesbild president Kevin Layden said at the time.
District council unanimously approved the project on March 28th, as Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes thanked district staff, residents and the applicant for patience through “this long journey.”
“Here’s the last piece that I believe we need,” said Haynes. “It’s a very exciting day in Saanich to have this additional housing and retail … coming forward, along with the active transportation aspects included.”
According to developers, the $230-million project will redevelop the mall into a “mixed-use community” offering 590 rental units, including a mix of market and affordable housing.
The site will also feature new commercial, daycare and community space, a public plaza, cycling and electric vehicle infrastructure, and a BC Transit hub. The on-site Home Depot will be expanded but will remain open during construction.
Developers say the project will have a “significant positive economic impact” on the region, creating more than 300 construction jobs and 200 permanent positions.
“We are thrilled to have this as our first major investment in Canada,” added John Wilbeck, the Vancouver-based managing director at Greystar. “This isn’t just a project for us—it is the development of a true, thriving community.”