Mapleton Crossing: Park Entrance to be Enhanced

As published in the Times & Transcript Written By: James Foster

Cordova Realty CEO Jeff McManaman says that the group has spent $1 million on remediating a small stream and creating the conditions for a new trout habitat. GREG AGNEW/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT The entrance to Moncton’s Mapleton Park is a construction zone right now, but developers who are building a new Cabela’s and Princess Auto near the park vow that once the project is finished, the much loved green space will look better than ever.

“I want my children and grandchildren to come here and say, ‘Wow, my dad and Cordova was a part of this,” Cordova Realty CEO Jeff McManaman said Friday during a tour of the work site.

“At the end of this, you’ll find an outstanding project that the city of Moncton can be very proud of.”

Incorporated into the retail development being built at the southwest corner of the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 2) and Mapleton Road is a revamped entrance to Mapleton Park via the road into what will be a new retail node. The short park-access road will wind through trees and over a brook that has been restored by the developers.

By the time the project is substantially completed, McManaman expects the development to be worthy of its status as an iconic entrance to the City of Moncton, complete with an ornate Welcome To Moncton sign. The goal is to “redefine the entry into Moncton,” he said.

Cordova is developing 170,000 square feet of retail space near the entrance to the park, to which it has donated its new entrance. It has already spent more than $1 million to divert a once-forlorn stream of water that ran through the property, hiring a biologist and enlisting the help of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial Department of Natural Resources to install boulders and logs in the new water course to create a babbling brook in which fish can thrive. Trout have already moved into the brook.

The brook project is in keeping with Cordova’s mantra to exceed environmental rules wherever it develops a property. The firm supports the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited, the Trans-Canada Trail, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the Nature Trust of New Brunswick.

Their development will see a 50,000 square foot Cabela’s outlet, one of the most coveted retailers in Canada, as well as a 25,000 square foot Princess Auto. Company officials are currently negotiating with other tenants for buildings measuring 49,000 square feet, 4,000 square feet, 3,000 square feet, and for a restaurant pad measuring 6,500 square feet.

“We are pursuing a nice, family sit-down type of restaurant,” McManaman said.

The new Princess Auto should be finished before Christmas with Cabela’s following in the spring. Both those stores will border on the east-bound off ramp to Mapleton Road from the TCH, with Cabelas at the far rear of the property which backs onto a wooded expanse with the renovated stream behind it, an apt placement for a business that caters to the outdoors community. Princess Auto retails tools, equipment and parts. The half of the development on the north side of the property, bordering the TCH, is being developed now. The southern half of the development closer to the park will be constructed afterwards.

Having Cabela’s and Princess Auto as the first two confirmed tenants lends a male-oriented theme to the development, but McManaman said that’s merely by coincidence and by the time the other six buildings are filled he expects the project will cater to all demographics.

The builders’ plans call for an exceedingly leafy landscape, with trees bordering streets and sidewalks and even inside the parking lots.

They’ve already transplanted native shrubs and trees from the work site to the area around the new lane leading to the park and all along the brook, which will in turn create a natural buffer to separate the park from the development. Outdoor lighting will be designed to aim downward, rather than broadcasting light over a wider area, to cut light pollution which can be a bane to wildlife in an urban setting.

There is also the potential for the City of Moncton to build a second entry to the park by extending Lady Ada Boulevard on the west side of Mapleton Road and into the park, though it is not known at this point if the city plans to do so.

When completed, the $40-million to $50-million development is expected to bring with it up to 600 full- and part-time jobs. As a “destination” shopping experience — featuring the only Cabela’s in eastern Canada — the development is expected to attract millions of shoppers over time.

The tax implications for provincial coffers from the salaries as well as consumption taxes on sales are described by McManaman as “huge.”

The development’s lone street, to be called Cabelas Court, will come to a cul-de-sac near its namesake store, featuring a turnaround area for big RVs and trailers. New traffic lights will help ease congestion at the intersection of Cabelas Court and Mapleton Road. More than 36,000 cars drive down Mapleton Road daily and that is expected to increase.

As the project proceeds at full bore this spring, summer and fall, and with two of Canada’s most coveted retailers already confirmed, Cordova expects strong interest from other prospective tenants but he isn’t currently in a position to name names. His team will be meeting with potential stores and with site selectors in June.