Eden Centre expanding

The Central Planning Authority has approved plans to completely rebuild the Eden Centre Shopping Plaza.

Chris Wight, who will oversee the redevelopment of the shopping centre, said many people have commented on the unsightly appearance of the plaza, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

‘But they don’t realise we still have tenants and if we knocked it down, they would have been out of business,’ Mr. Wight said.

Although Hurricane Ivan destroyed the premises of anchor tenant, Hurley’s Supermarket, and several other stores, there are still seven businesses operating out of the plaza.

Mr. Wight said the plan is for the existing building to stay up during the construction of the new building behind it.

‘Once we have the new one built, [the existing tenants] can move across.’

The Eden Centre has two elements: the Hurley’s Supermarket, which was owned separately, and the shopping centre, which is owned by the Wight family.

Hurley’s will move back into the new plaza, as will the current tenants. Mr. Wight said there were discussions with a number of other potential tenants, but he could not give specifics.

‘What I can say is we’re talking to some big franchises, and hopefully they’ll come in,’ he said. ‘We’re speaking to some pretty big names.’

Eduardo Bernal of Cariba Architects is the lead designer for the project. He said his company is drafting the contract documents and that it is hoped construction could start early next year. If it does, completion would occur sometime toward the end of 2008 or early 2009, Mr. Bernal said.

The new building will be larger than the existing one – with roughly 60,000 square feet under roof – partially because some if it has two storeys. The minimum size of the stores will be larger, too, Mr. Wight said.

In order to accommodate the new building, the Wight family has included an adjoining lot to the parcel being built on.

Once the new building is completed, the old structure will be torn down and the parking lot will be expanded and landscaped.

The new structure will not be a metal building like the last one, but one of metal studs and concrete block.

‘Style-wise, it will have a modern Caribbean style,’ Mr. Bernal said. ‘It will have a very tropical feel with overhangs and colonnades that wrap around the building to provide shade.’

All the stores will have windows that face toward the shaded walkways, Mr. Bernal said.

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