Premier Denis Napthine and Geelong Mayor Councillor Darryn Lyons will today open the first phase of the $90 million expansion of the Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre in Geelong, paving the way for 500 new jobs in the region.
The opening of phase one comes after 12 months of construction and is part of a joint venture between Australian Unity Real Estate Investment (AUREI) and Coles.
Around 200 jobs were created during the construction phase, and another 500 retail jobs will be created when Coles, Kmart and around 60 specialty outlets open.
Launching the centre expansion today, Dr Napthine welcomed the investment in Geelong.
“This expansion will not only serve as an important retail hub, it will also provide many important jobs for the growing population in the Waurn Ponds area,” he said.
Coles Managing Director Ian McLeod says Coles’ investment indicated its confidence in the future of the Geelong region.
“Coles currently employs more than 1,200 team members in our eight stores in the Greater Geelong area and we are proud that the expansion of the store at Waurn Ponds will provide an employment boost for the region,” he said.
“Overall Coles has committed to invest $130 million in Geelong in four new stores - including Waurn Ponds - which will create more than 400 construction jobs and employ around 600 people once completed.
“We have doubled the number of Coles team members employed at Waurn Ponds and our new Coles superstore, Coles Express and Liquorland together will employ around 230 team members locally.”
Coles’ new supermarket is an exciting new large format store, which is unique to Geelong, and Kmart is presenting its latest layout and design. Phase one has seen a number of new specialty stores open for trade including a new Reject Shop, Priceline, and Bank of Melbourne.
Mark Pratt, General Manager AUREI, says the latest expansion continues Australian Unity’s 15 year history of investing in the growth of the Geelong region.
“Australian Unity first purchased the Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre in 1999 and substantially developed it over time, firstly in 2007 and now in 2014, to cater to the growing needs of southern Geelong and the wider Bellarine region.
“The Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre now covers an area almost twice the size of the MCG and when fully completed in August will have increased its floor space by 20,000 square metres to approximately 47,000 square metres.
“Over the next 20 years the population of Greater Geelong is predicted to increase by 32 per cent, or by an additional 72,712 persons to just under 300,000*.
“It is critical that given the ever-expanding population of the region looks set to continue, we continue to invest in and support the local community,” Mr Pratt says.
Two days of opening celebrations are planned at the Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre. Today’s formalities will be followed with a day of free family entertainment with prizes and giveaways this Saturday, 24 May 2014.
The completion date for phase two of the expansion is late August 2014, which will see the addition of more fashion and homewares retailers.
* City of Greater Geelong population forecasts (www.id.com.au/forecast/geelong)
For more information please contact:
Mark Pratt General Manager, Australian Unity Real Estate Investment Phone: 03 8682 4546 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org