The installation of a stop sign doesn't often draw civic leaders, but Broadmead Village put Saanich's mayor to work Thursday as it marked a major milestone in the renovation of the shopping centre.
Mayor Frank Leonard helped install and bolt in the stop sign at the Chatterton Way entrance to Broadmead Village, officially transforming the road from a one-way exit to two-way traffic access.
The roadwork is part of a $6 million renovation that is modernizing building facades across more than 45 retail units, adding floorspace and giving a facelift to the centrepiece pedestrian breezway.
The Chatterton Way entrance, at least when patrons realize it's there, should help ease traffic jams at the awkward Royal Oak Drive entrance and its accompanying four-way-stop.
"When you come in (off Royal Oak Drive) it is congestion galore. Now people can enter and exit (through Chatterton Way). It's great, easy access and solves some congestion problems," said Jim Griffith, past president of the Broadmead Area Residents Association, the organization which first suggested the change to the owners of Broadmead Village.
"This is a suggestion we made and they completed it. It's just great they got the community involved."
Shops at Broadmead remain open for business, but much of the plaza is a construction zone as crews install new facades and sidewalks. Alison Miles Cork, the senior asset manager for Grosvenor Americas, the owner of Broadmead Village, expects the pedestrian breezeway to open by July and the entire renovation to be completed by the fall.
"It's never fun doing renos, but we're starting to see what we'll get in the end," Miles Cork said.
In an era of renovations at shopping hubs like Hillside Centre, the creation of Uptown and additions at Westshore Town Centre, Broadmead needed to update its weathered 20-year-old look to attract and retain quality retailers.
The renovations will allow a few existing tenants to expand floorspace, Miles Cork said, and has attracted new tenants, making Broadmead a mix of national retailers and independent businesses.
"We might have two small vacancies (after renovations). It is all forward-leased," she said. "If its not 100 per cent (leased) it'll be 98 per cent."
The next major milestone will be finishing the breezeway component, which will provide plenty of outdoor seating, and is what the developer coins a community hub.
"This (renovation) isn't just for retailers. Its for the community, its for the community to gather, it's a hub and a centre," Miles Cork said. "It's a gathering point where you can meet neighbours and friends."
Leonard said Saanich is grateful to Grosvenor Americas for the investment in Broadmead.
"When they first built (Broadmead Village), it was a lot of investment and jobs for the community," Leonard said after installing the stop sign. "The worry with retail is that if you let it sag, then jobs disappear. This investment shows confidence by the owners in the retailers and in the community."