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Blog by Barry Connerty

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Plaza 88 - The Key for Renewing New Westminster

For a long time, areas of New Westminster has been deteriorating in both its buildings and its reputation. However, thanks to a huge $300 million investment, the original capital city of British Columbia, will once again be inviting and deserving of its nickname: The Royal City.

Plaza 88 and Skytrain Shopping Centre

Already built, are three towers of condominiums that rest directly north of the New Westminster Skytrain station. They cost about $250 million to build and have over 600 units between the three of them. The Marinus which is the third tower to be built is still selling brand new units starting at $325 000. More information can be found at the official Plaza 88 website.

Work is now underway to build the new shopping center that will be attached and southwards of the station. According to the display centre, located just west of Tower 1 (898 Carnarvon Street), confirmed anchor tenants include a ten screen movie theatre, Safeway, Shoppers Drug Mart, banks RBC and CIBC as well as multiple fast food eateries. Altogether, there will be over 120 000 square feet of retail space that will lure passengers off the train to shop or enjoy a quick meal. A 11 000 square foot liquor store is also in the plans and will feature a huge wine selection. The shopping centre is projected to be finish in 2011.

Development to Lower Crime

In the past, New Westminster station was a place for criminal activity however, SkyTrain chief executive officer Doug Kelsey points out that this new retail space will directly lower crime. He says, “where there are people, there is typically less crime. You end up moving the people that don't belong there and they go elsewhere. We have seen that in other rejuvenations" (The Vancouver Sun). Mr. Kelsey states that SkyTrain’s goal is to be a place that passengers regard as perfectly safe.

This rejuvenation plan has also been suggested for Lougheed Towne Centre station. This method of adding stores directly to the train station is being seen as turning that area into a “true community centre” rather than simply a place of transport. (The Vancouver Sun).