This November, hundreds of curious local shoppers flooded new FreshCo’s aisles in Aldergrove, which just last year operated as a Safeway.
Over the six-month span between the end of May and November extensive renovations divided the former Safeway into two commercial units, both owned by real estate investment trust Crombie REIT.
FreshCo operates in the left unit, adjacent to several Countryside Shopping Centre units occupied by commercial businesses including RBC Bank, and Benkey Sushi.
Though several of its units remain vacant.
A question now stands: what will occupy the commercial space beside FreshCo? And what about the other vacant units spread throughout the plaza, some that have remained empty for years.
General manager Sonny Janda of the Janda Group explained that a restrictive covenant placed on them as owners of the plaza, by Crombie REIT, limits them to what businesses can lease.
Janda Group’s Kirsten Girgulis, who manages leases for Countryside, said she’s received interest from many pharmacists and bakeries in past years but because of Safeway (and now FreshCo’s) pharmacy and baked goods department she cannot offer them tenancy.
“It’s pretty debilitating,” general manager Sonny Janda of the Janda Group told the Aldergrove Star.
“We have and still are trying to work with [Crombie REIT] to have it removed,” Janda elaborated.
“We want to see the improvement of businesses here in Aldergrove.”
READ MORE: First look inside Aldergrove’s new FreshCo
What could soon inhabit one of the empty units is the Aldergrove Vineyard Church, according to Janda.
The church, which now operates inside 27309 Fraser Hwy. with the food bank, leases the building from the Janda Group of realtors and developers.
“We’ve showed them the space and made the offer to them,” said Janda, who seeks to reclaim 27309 Fraser Hwy. for the redevelopment of the old mall property on 3100 272 St.
“There’s no guarantee they will decide to move there.”
If representatives of the church agree, Janda expects to see them move into the Countryside Shopping centre sometime in January.