ONE of the city's biggest and busiest regional shopping centres is getting a $10-million facelift.
St. Vital Centre, which at just under one million square feet is second in size only to Polo Park Shopping Centre, will undergo extensive renovations to its common areas over the next eight to nine months.
The overhaul will include installation of new wood-like ceramic flooring, new ceilings, energy-efficient lighting, wall coverings in some areas, including the food court, and installation of skylights in two wings of the mall that don't have them.
"(The renovation project) has been a little bit slow in starting," mall general manager Cheryl Mazur said Wednesday, noting the mall's owners had originally hoped to start a couple of years ago. "But it will be getting pretty crazy around here over the next little while."
Mazur said the shopping centre, at St. Mary's Road and Bishop Grandin Boulevard, will stay open throughout the renovation.
She said most of the work will be done at night to minimize disruption for tenants and customers.
Workers have already started dismantling the ceiling in parts of the concourse. And samples of the new flooring have been installed in a section of the wing leading to The Bay store.
Mazur said work will begin in earnest next week as crews begin removing tile floors and laying down the new flooring.
The goal is to have everything done by November, when Christmas shopping gets into full swing.
It's been 14 years since St. Vital Centre's last major facelift. Among other things, those renovations included adding skylights in the centre court and on some of the wings in the mall, as well as a large food court at the south end, complete with open fireplaces.
Although the food court will be getting new flooring, some new lighting, some new walls and some new seating, "the fireplaces are staying," Mazur said. "We'll never take those away."
She said the renovations have nothing to do with the fact a new shopping centre --IKEA/Seasons of Tuxedo development -- is under construction near the northern end of Bishop Grandin.
"I've been here five years and when I first got here it (another facelift) was already on the radar screen. When you've got a good asset, you always want it to look its best and keep it looking fresh." Also, "you've got to keep up with your neighbours," she said in reference to some of the other regional shopping malls that have undergone renovations.
St. Vital Centre is owned by the Ontario Pension Board and is managed by 20 Vic Management Inc.