Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne has approved a $500 million development at Westfield Doncaster, in Melbourne’s east.
Owners SCentre Group, ISPT and Asia Pacific Fund, plan to build a 14-level apartment complex on part of their asset.
The consortium is also proposing a two-storey podium containing 43,000 square metres of retail space at the complex’s north-west corner.
About 18,000 sqm of office space will also be added to the Doncaster centre at 619 Doncaster Road, on the north-east corner of Williamsons Road.
The redevelopment will result in Westfield Doncaster’s retail area increasing to approximately 166,000 sqm.
This would make the shopping centre one of the biggest in the country, following Westfield Sydney, Westfield Chermside and in Victoria, Westfield Fountain Gate and Chadstone Shopping Centre – the latter Australia’s largest mall, with more than 215,000 sqm of retail area.
Upon redevelopment, Westfield Doncaster would contain more shopping space than Highpoint, Westfield Knox, Eastland and Westfield Southland.
The state government said in this statement that the proposed Westfield Doncaster development would create about 2000 construction jobs. When complete, the centre should employ an additional 2900 people on a full or part-time basis.
“The upgrade will include an expanded bus interchange, improved car and pedestrian access within the centre and additional car parking,” Mr Wynne said.
“Melbourne is already the nation’s retail capital and this major expansion will cement its reputation for the years to come,” the planning minister added. “This project will create thousands of jobs, draw thousands of shoppers from across the world, and will be a major boost to Victoria’s economy”.
“The retail industry is one of Victoria’s most important employers, providing over 300,000 jobs across Melbourne and regional Victoria,” Mr Wynne said. “Figures released earlier in January by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Victorians spent a record $78.9 billion on retail sales over the past year”.
Member for Eastern Metropolitan, Shaun Leane, added “the expansion to Westfield Doncaster will create thousands of local jobs and make this shopping district even better”.
“We’ve listened to community feedback on this development and now we’re making sure it gets underway”.
Built in 1969, the centre was last refurbished in 2008 when it was also more than doubled in size.
SCentre Group owns 50 per cent of Westfield Doncaster. The balance is controlled equally by ISPT Core Fund and Asia Property Fund.
This morning, SCentre Group announced that it sold a half share of its Westfield Burwood complex in Sydney’s west to Perth-based Perron Group for $575 million.
As part of the deal, SCentre Group will retain management.
Perron Group, with more than $4 billion of assets under management, was established by businessman and philanthropist Stan Perron who died last November, aged 96.
SCentre Group and Perron Group co-control other shopping centres including Westfield Woden in the ACT. In Victoria the consortium owns Westfield Geelong and Westfield Airport West.