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Redevelopment finally on horizon for Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall

The new vision is to address community needs and aspirations, according to Century Group
Sean Hodgins held an open house at the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall in 2019 but no development application was submitted to the city. Delta Optimist file

A major redevelopment of the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall is finally on the horizon.

Century Group is hosting a public information session on Thursday, Sept. 28 to unveil a new vision to transform the site, inviting people to discuss key components and to “capture the community’s aspiration” about the area’s future.

Having recently held a “brainstorming session” to gather feedback, the process by Century Group President Sean Hodgins is following a similar pattern to the early consultations held in 2006 on the future of the Southlands.

Talk of change for the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall goes back several years, but has yet to see a comprehensive redevelopment application put forward to the city.

In 2015, Hodgins unveiled a preliminary vision for a new “green heart” for Tsawwassen. That initial concept was to change the four-hectare (10-acre) site from suburban mall to a mixed-use neighbourhood. The vision included several four- to six-storey structures with retail at ground level and condos above, as well as a 12-to 20-storey concrete residential tower.

In total, there were about 500 condos. The site would be linked with a series of pathways and gathering plazas, a park and central fountain. Parking would have been primarily underground.

Two years later, he submitted what would have been the first phase of a larger redevelopment plan, a six-storey mixed-use building fronting 56th Street. The building would have had over 11,000 square feet of commercial floor area on the ground level and 81 rental apartments above.

It would have been part of an overall master plan that would have been developed in phases, although there were no details at the time on what the rest of that plan would look like, beyond replacing the aging suburban mall with a retail village concept.

The mixed-use building proposal was the subject of a public information meeting where feedback from residents was overwhelmingly negative, with most complaints focused on the building’s design. Based on the feedback, council in late 2017 rejected the proposal and instructed Hodgins to come back with a more detailed overall master plan.

In 2019, Hodgins said he worked with Delta staff to develop some master plan options, which he presented at the open house at the mall in April of that year, showing a mixed-use urban village.

That proposal included 700 condo units in eight low- to medium-rise buildings as well as a new library at the heart of the development, an amenity that would be given to the city which currently doesn’t own the Tsawwassen Library building.

The concept also had 120,000 square feet of ground-level retail.

The purpose of that open house was to gather feedback, Hodgins said at the time, adding it was mostly positive. No development application, however, had been submitted to the city and the site remained unchanged.

Fast forward to 2023 and the opportunity to possibly add even more housing than previously envisioned could be on the radar as housing as become an all-consuming issue in Delta and throughout the region. High-density projects are proposed or have already been approved in North Delta, while new condominium and townhouse projects are also proposed in South Delta.

Back in 2015, the South Delta Business Sustainability Strategy already identified the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall as a redevelopment opportunity, recommending the site should “have more residential density, walkable ground floor retail, cafes, outdoor seating, a public gathering place.”

The Sept. 28 public information session at the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall (1229 56 St.) takes place from 6 to 8 p.m.