$350m Sunshine Plaza expansion set to get green light
A $350 million expansion of the Sunshine Coast's largest shopping centre is expected to be approved by the local council on Thursday.
Council planners have recommended approval of the Sunshine Plaza expansion in Maroochydore which will add 37,394m2 to the existing centre.
Approval will result in a total gross lettable area of 109,416m2 for the entire complex.
The expansion will be over two storeys and includes a new 14,000m2 department store (David Jones), an expansion of 2,500m2 to Myer and 20,894m2 of specialty retail and restaurants.
The plans include a possible educational establishment and community meeting hall.
A report to council pointed out the expansion would exceed the floor plan considered acceptable under the existing town plan (until 2016) by 9934m2.
The report said the applicants, which include retail giant Lend Lease, had submitted an economic impact assessment as part of it bid.
"This was independently reviewed by an external consultant who agreed with the recommendations.
"Council's external economic consultant confirmed that the development satisfies economic and community needs and the additional floor space will not pose an unacceptable economic impact upon the surrounding and associated retail network.''
But already questions are being raised about the impact of the development on smaller retailers, many of who have been doing it tough on the Sunshine Coast.
The plaza already has a high turnover of retail tenants though has some of the best foot traffic figures for a centre of its size in the country.
Plans for the development include an internal through connection of Southern Drive to Amaroo Street and a number of external road upgrades.
The developer will be required to kick in more than $5 million for transport upgrades and almost $1 million for parks and land for community facilities.
An additional An additional 1,501 car parks will be provided, resulting in 5,036 bays for the entire complex.
Lend Lease said the plans will extend the centre along Cornmeal Creek providing new pedestrian and cycle promenades and public realm on both North and South banks.
"The indoor / outdoor retail experience which has made Sunshine Plaza such a distinctive destination will be continued on these edges providing activation and appeal."
Sunshine Plaza is co-owned by Australian Prime Property Fund - Retail and The GPT Group, and managed by Lend Lease.
Do you think the Sunshine Coast needs more shops and restaurants?
This poll ended on 30 March 2013.
Yes. Can't wait for a David Jones
No. Our retailers are doing it tough enough
Yes. But what is proposed is too much
As long as they provide more car parks
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Sunshine Coast Facebook fans react to news of the development's expected approval.
Rebecca Castledine: More car parks hopfully!!! Hate going there for that reason!!
Kelly Burton: Is that really necessary? Isn't the big top being redeveloped also? How many shops does one area need??
Michael Kornbrekke: Surely there are other places this could be spent. Rather than placing the roads there under more load.
Richard Snowden: We dont need David jones here its not big enough to support myers an Dj
Kayren Bartucz: Awesome
Luke Mears: Why not? Creates jobs and stimulates the economy which we need on the Coast
Cherie Patrick:So we get more shops and some more retailers, some more jobs, but at what cost? Twenty years ago, Plaza Parade was never designed for the amount of traffic it sees in peak shopping times. Traffic backs up along Aerodrome road, Evans Street and Maroochydore Boulevard. The amount of parking is ample for "off peak" shopping, but an absolute nightmare otherwise. I hope the council got the better end of the deal in all of this with promises of upgrading things.Y dont they try fixing our roads first to a mint condition its bullshit they think about the tourism and how to get more money from us they should ask ppl of the sunshine coast what they want and what will make this place better because a shopping center wont help in any way.Ben Stewart:Hear me! If the Big Top go ahead with the idea to do a local market, including the night market that spills onto the street, it would create a new community culture which is so desperately needed here on the coast, and if that happened, no matter how much money spent on the plaza it wouldn't compare. Big buildings that sell crap aren't what make a place great, it is the people, the community and the culture, and for us as a community to tap into that culture, we need to honour our farmers and local artists and musicians with a place right in town, no bells and whistles, no high rent, a place where they can showcase their foods and crafts and talents.