The country’s largest shopping mall Chadstone is about to get even bigger.
Retail landlord Vicinity Centres will pump another $685 million into developing its trophy centre in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, announcing plans to add more levels on two car parks, a nine-storey commercial office and an upgraded fresh food precinct.
The works, which also include an expansion of Chadstone’s extensive dining and leisure precinct, will need approval from the local Stonnington Council and a green light from the centre’s half-owner, billionaire shopping magnate John Gandel.
“The development applications are subject to the usual approval process by the City of Stonnington and the projects require approval by Chadstone’s co-owners,” Vicinity said.
“If approved, it’s anticipated work could begin in 2021, with completion within four years.”
The flagship centre is one of the landlord’s best trading malls, underpinning the group’s profits and contributing around 17 per cent of Vicinity’s revenues.
The new development push comes just one month after Mr Gandel, Vicinity CEO Grant Kelley and local MP Marlene Kairouz cut the ribbon on a newly completed five-star, $130 million hotel run by Sofitel under the MGallery brand.
Vicinity chief development officer Carolyn Viney said the new development will create 250 construction jobs and add about 1500 full time workers to the centre when completed.
“Our plans will address demand from commercial tenants wanting to be based at Chadstone and continue to deliver the experiences our customers and retailers have come to expect from the fashion capital,” she said.
Chadstone’s congested car parks – a sore point with customers – will get a significant makeover, with an additional 1400 spaces turning them into Australia’s largest free car park.
The mall’s director Fiona Mackenzie said the outlay included significant upgrades to existing car park infrastructure as well as additional levels.
“This will go a long way to improving the efficiency for our customers,” she said.
To counteract the threat of online shopping and keep their centres relevant, landlords around the country have been giving them substantial makeovers, adding cinemas, apartments, hotels and extra shopping space to create “town centres,” boost foot traffic and increase turnover and valuations.
Ms Viney said research showed the area around Chadstone had a 75,000-strong corporate workforce, suggesting enough demand for a second commercial office on the site.
If approved, Vicinity hopes to start work on the new 24,000 square metre office in 2021. It will include 4000 square metres of co-working space and take two years to build.
Overall, the $685 million spent will expand the size of the mall by 43,000 square metres, including the new commercial office space.
The company will run a 10-week community consultation process for feedback on the changes in December, January and February.
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