The former site of Mayfair Lanes bowling alley at 760 Tolmie Avenue

Loblaw’s $1.2-billion expansion may include Saanich lot – but company stays quiet

Loblaw, owner of Real Canadian Superstore, owns former Mayfair Lanes site but won't say if development is pending

Mum’s the word on a vacant Saanich lot that was previously slated for a Real Canadian Superstore, after Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced Monday it plans to spend $1.2 billion on expanding and bolstering its Canadian business in the coming year.

The 13,670 square-metre lot at 760 Tolmie Ave. is the former home of Mayfair Lanes bowling alley, which was torn down after Loblaw purchased the property in 2005. The lot has sat empty ever since, but its prime location could be one of the 50 units Loblaw plans to “build from the ground up.”

Neighbouring Mayfair Shopping Centre, the property is valued by B.C. Assessment at $11,725,000 for 2015.

Saanich Planning has had a development application for the site on hold since 2010 pending variances for parking and siting.

“We’re not currently breaking out the details of the announcement,” said a Loblaw spokesperson in a statement.

“At this point, there will be more than 50 stores built from the ground up and more than 100 undergoing renovations or improvements. To point to one region or store banner would understate the nationwide and business-wide impact we expect this investment will make.”

The Brampton-based grocery chain, which owns the Real Canadian Superstore and Joe Fresh clothing brand, says its stores will staff between 20 and 300 employees, and its investment this year is expected to create more than 20,000 jobs.

Its latest application to Saanich features a main floor of 84,360 sq. ft. and underground parking, with entrances off Tolmie Avenue and Roderick Street, as well as 42 more parking spots outside.

Last month, Whole Foods announced it would bring its first Vancouver Island location to Uptown. That grocer is expected to open sometime in 2016.

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