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Kelowna  

MEC, Lee Valley opening

This weekend will be all about grand openings at Orchard Plaza, as both Lee Valley Tools and Mountain Equipment Co-op open their doors to the public.

2015 was a hard year for the strip mall, as it lost giant retailers Target and Future Shop in the matter of months, leaving thousands of square feet of retail space empty.

However, new, big-name clients were quickly secured for the central Kelowna plaza.

“Truthfully, in terms of timing, we feel pretty fortunate,” says Randy Lowe, chief operating officer of McIntosh Properties Ltd., which operates Orchard Plaza.

“To lose Target, that was 90,000 square feet and then Future Shop, another 24,000 square feet, in pretty short order ... to now get them all back up, renovated and operating in short order — we are pretty happy with that.”

Steve Nash Fitness Club and UFC Gym opened its doors on March 15 and now the two other large retailers are ready for business.

“It is awesome. We are really excited about it actually,” says Lowe.

Lee Valley Tools' grand opening is this Friday, April 22, with events scheduled throughout the weekend, while MEC is hosting a grand-opening event on Saturday, April 23.

To build the excitement, MEC opened its doors today for its soft opening. 

Lowe says there is still more exciting news to come.

He says the Orchard Plaza movie theatre is making upgrades in the coming months.

“It will include new seating in every one of the five theatres and new flooring, paint, signage and so forth."

He adds that while Orchard Plaza was sad to lose long-time-tenant Discover Wines, the wine section at Save-on-Foods has also been a big success.

“They did a nice job of the renovation there and by all accounts they are still providing that close level of service,” says Lowe.

He believes the mall's quick turnaround can be attributed to the buzz of Kelowna.

“It shows the economic activity going on in the Okanagan and the fact that we are still a growing region. And, truthfully, it points to our mall being in the geographic centre of the Okanagan and right adjacent to the largest Interior mall between Vancouver and Calgary,” says Lowe.

Orchard Plaza is still trying to secure a retailer for the last 45,000 square feet of the original Target location that remains empty, between Lee Valley and Steve Nash.

“We are still in very active negotiations,” says Lowe. “We hope, in the not-too-distant future, to be able to make some announcements on that, but at this stage, it is still confidential.”

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