Perfections hair salon owners Pam Whelban (right) and Linda Heickel say they were surprised and saddened by the sale of Royal Place, and remain concerned about when they’ll have to leave – and if they’ll be able to find anywhere to go. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Sale of White Rock’s Royal Place mall a ‘tough call’ for family

Highrise proposed for corner of North Bluff and Johnston roads

Further change is in the wind for White Rock’s uptown landscape – Royal Place mall, located at the intersection of North Bluff and Johnston roads, sold last fall.

Owned since 1955 by Ray Woodward of Coast Motors, who died in June 2016, its fate is now in the hands of Langley-based RDG Management Ltd.

And exactly what might be in store for the 1578 Johnston Rd. site – RDG’s website notes a ‘White Rock Tower’ plan, however, it does not yet link to any specific details (including whether the Royal Place property is being eyed for it) – became more clear Monday.

That’s when the city’s land use and planning committee learned that a major development permit application had been submitted for the site, proposing a 27-storey mixed-use development that includes four levels of underground parking, two levels of commercial space and 24 levels of apartments.

Company president John Rempel was not available to speak to Peace Arch News this week, however, he and the project architect addressed the committee Monday, noting the aim was to create “something iconic on the corner… something very recognizable.”

Developments underway nearby – PARC’s 23-storey rental highrise for seniors is under construction immediately south of the mall; Bosa Properties is on the verge of breaking ground on the second phase of its town-centre Miramar Village development; and the three-tower ‘Foster Martin on White Rock Commons’ plan was approved for 1484 Martin St. last April – left little doubt an upwards trend would continue.

And, city zoning now allows for consideration of projects up to 25 storeys.

The committee heard the proposal is consistent with official community plan guidelines for town-centre land use, and is requesting no amendments, rezoning or variances.

For Tom Woodward, the eldest of the senior Woodward’s four children, it’s difficult to imagine something of such magnitude on the site.

“In our mind, we don’t even really want to think about it, because it’s so hard to believe it is out of the family after all these years,” the Ocean Park resident said.

The decision to sell, he added, was made prior to his dad’s death.

“He could see the writing on the wall,” Woodward said.

“(Selling) was something that dad just really thought the timing was good to do.”

Royal Place tenants expressed have mixed reaction to the mall’s sale. Some said they are “going with the flow,” others said that the news was only a matter of time.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be our forever home,” said Pam Keddy of 3 Dog Brewing, one of the mall’s newest tenants, pointing to the nearby construction.

“We knew that the gentleman who owned this had passed away and that it had been willed to his four children, and the chances of them holding on to it was very slim.

“This is the top of White Rock. This is only single-high. In today’s day and age, single-high doesn’t make you the money that the buildings make you. Business sense dictates somebody’s going to knock this down. Do I think it’s going to happen tomorrow? No.”

Keddy said Wolf’s Deli closed on short notice about a month ago, leaving a notice to customers that business was down due to construction.

For Pam Whelban and Linda Heickel – owners of Perfections hair salon – news of the mall’s sale was a surprise, and has left them wondering when they’ll be given the requisite six-months notice to vacate the space they’ve occupied since 1986.

“We’re waiting for the chop,” Whelban told Peace Arch News last week. “Everybody’s concerned about where we’re going to be.”

Whelban said she and Heickel weren’t advised back when rezoning for the site that cleared the way for highrises was approved. Had they known then, “we would’ve gone somewhere else,” she said.

Now, options to start over, or even simply relocate, are slim, Whelban said.

“To have to start again at this stage of our life, it’s a big expense. It’s going to be hard.”

Woodward said the decision to sell was not made lightly.

“It was a tough call, but we sort of all agreed on it as a family.”

Land-use committee members voted unanimously Monday to receive the report.

 

A highrise has been proposed for the site of Royal Place mall in White Rock. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

18-year-old to hospital after shots fired in White Rock

Police investigating early-morning incident

White Rock RCMP unaffected by Surrey’s choice of police force, city says

Mayor Darryl Walker to meet with RCMP Staff Sgt. Daryl Creighton

PHOTOS: White Rock Remembrance Day ceremony

Residents gather to pay respect Canada’s fallen soldiers

Surrey firefighters tackle blaze at Guildford home

Firefighters have yet to determine what caused the vacant house fire

‘And then the guns fell silent’: Thousands gather in Cloverdale to commemorate Remembrance Day

Veterans, dignitaries, Surrey residents remember 100 years since end of First World War

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Touching note left on Lower Mainland veteran’s windshield

A veteran is hoping the writers of a note know how much he was touched by their kind words.

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

‘Weird Al’ brings Strings Attached tour to Lower Mainland next summer

Legendary musical satirist performs with full symphony orchestra

Lack of public response threatens B.C. referendum credibility

Of the few who have voted, poll finds most rejected proportional representation

Tentative deal reached in NHL concussion lawsuit

More than 100 former players accused the league of failing to better prevent head trauma

Grim search for more fire victims; 31 dead across California

More than 8,000 firefighters battled wildfires that scorched at least 1,040 square kilometres

Most Read

l -->