Local industry sources say Ikea is eyeing a high profile site on the corner of the Princes Highway and Westall Road in Springvale – which it could develop into a 32,000 square metre supersized showroom, its second in Melbourne.
Fellow retail heavyweight Harvey Norman owns the 8-hectare property at 917 Princes Highway, which was formerly used as a Telstra supply branch. It fought off fierce competition from developers paying what was, in 2004, considered a bullish price of $14.6 million for the property – $4.6 million more than vendor Folkestone paid for it six months earlier.
Harvey Norman plans to develop the property in stages, starting with a 37,000 square metre homemaker centre for approximately 16 big box retailers.
Last week however, it lodged a second application with the Greater Geelong City Council for a further 32,000 square metre facility. With only a handful of retail tenants requiring such quantities of space, the spotlight suddenly shone on Ikea.
An Ikea spokeswoman told Capital Gain the company is planning to open a new showroom in the south-eastern suburbs, but said nothing formal has been signed yet.
A spokesman for Harvey Norman declined to comment.
Local agents say the Harvey Norman owned centre, at one end a proposed arterial road that would connect the Monash Freeway to the Princes Highway, will eventually become one of the highest profile sites in the south-east. Despite its Springvale address, the site is on the cusp of Mulgrave, Clayton and Clayton South – opening it to an established retail catchment as well as new estates in the outer south-eastern suburbs.