Hillside mall pitches 20-store expansion

$60-million project includes mostly fashion outlets, overall upgrades

Hillside Shopping Centre would undergo a $60-million expansion and renovation under a proposal heading for review at Victoria City Hall today.

The expansion will add 20 stores, most of them selling men's and women's fashions, said Michael Mehak of 20 Vic Management Inc., which oversees the shopping centre for OPB Realty Inc.

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Mehak, development manager for 20 Vic, said the 7,448-square-metre expansion will be on the east side of the mall, along Shelbourne Street.

The entire shopping centre will also be upgraded. "The atmosphere will be quite comfortable," said Mehak. He hopes construction can begin this year.

A request for a development permit goes to Victoria council today.

According to information submitted to the Victoria planning department, Hillside Shopping Centre is proposing changes to architecturally enhance the structure and the surrounding landscape.

Gone will be the free-standing automotive building and renovations will include improved environmental standards.

The plans call for 450 trees to be planted.

A storm-water management plan will be introduced to better protect Bowker Creek, which runs near the western edge of the property.

Access points for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists will be enhanced. The mall will also seek improved bus service.

The managers of Hillside have consulted with neighbours through the Oaklands Community Association and received a thumbs-up.

"The community is very much in favour of the proposed development and appreciative of 20 Vic Management for working with us," wrote John Harvey, chairman of the Oaklands Community Association land use committee in a letter to the city.

rwatts@tc.canwest.com

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