Transforming the Gold Coast’s biggest shopping centres into retail meccas

Jane Saunders | March 2017

Fashionistas and foodies are the big winners on the Gold Coast as Commonwealth Games inspired investment continues to transform the regions biggest shopping centres into retail meccas.

The biggest make over to date is the $670 million transformation of local shopping icon Pacific Fair into Queensland’s largest fashion and leisure venue.

Since opening in Broadbeach in 1977 Pacific Fair has been a favourite fixture on the Gold Coast, servicing generations of local residents and tourists alike.

In 2014 centre owners AMP Capital commenced work on its long held vision to redevelop the centre into a destination that goes beyond shopping.

With the rejuvenation works now complete, and the ribbon officially cut, the new Pacific Fair’s star is shining brighter then ever before, and crowds are flocking in.

Gaining 50,000sqm in the redevelopment, Pacific Fair is now the largest shopping centre in Queensland and the fourth largest in Australia.

Set in a unique indoor-outdoor environment, the new centre exudes a stunning five-star resort ambiance that is completed by the largest concentration of luxury retailers of any shopping centre in Australia.

Hosting 420 stores the line-up is a fashionista’s dream come true featuring global luxury brands Givenchy, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany & Co., and Chanel. Several Australian designer labels are also there along with international retailers Uniqlo, Zara and H&M.

Managing Director for AMP Capital Shopping Centres Mark Kirkland says the local community and customers are a key ingredient of Pacific Fair’s DNA and it is important to take them on a journey.

“We have created a must-visit destination on the Gold Coast and we anticipate the year ahead to be even more successful,” he says.

“Since the completion of the redevelopment, Pacific Fair has supported the local economy by creating in excess of 1,540 jobs

“local shoppers are extremely proud to show off Pacific Fair, as their local shopping haunt, to their visiting friends and relatives.”

Pacific Fair will celebrate its 40th birthday in August 2017.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone in the renovation stakes, Robina Town Centre recently celebrated its 20th anniversary on the Gold Coast and treated itself to a $170 million rejuvenation.

At the centrepiece of the redevelopment is The Kitchens, a globally inspired, locally focused culinary adventure touted as Australia’s first food playground.

Consisting of 55 new restaurants, cafes and bars The Kitchens is also home to some of Australia’s top food luminaries including George Calombaris’s souvlaki bar Jimmy Grants (its first outlet in Queensland), Trent Scarr of Honeyeater Kitchen, James Brady of Mr Pigs Bakehouse and Akira Takagi of Muso Ramen Noodle & Gyoza Bar.

More than just a dining experience, The Kitchens also offers visitors valuable lessons in sustainability including a busy program of cooking workshops led by hat-winning chef and nutritionist Sam Gowing. The workshops teach skills catering to all cooking levels from beginner to advance.

There’s also an outdoor apiary made up from 36 beehives, which will introduce over one million honeybees into Robina and surrounding suburbs, substantially increasing local pollination. The apiary will give shoppers the opportunity to safely interact with one of the world’s most complex and delicate ecosystems while watching on as the bees produce honey, beeswax, honeycomb and pollen from the surrounding environment. Resident beekeepers will also harvest, process, extract and bottle the honey onsite for all to see.

Curator of The Kitchens Daniel West says the foodie destination is locally focused but internationally inspired.

The Kitchens give visitors the chance to sample cuisines in a contemporary setting spanning two levels, from crafted wood-fired pizzas and hand-made pasta, to traditional teppanyaki, fiery Thai dishes, South-American and Greek street food, and New York style bagels.

“The Kitchens recognises the pivotal role fresh food plays in our lives and in our local community and is a place to celebrate fresh, local produce, but it is also an urban marketplace from which passionate providores, growers and suppliers can showcase, share and inspire,” says West.

Australia’s largest Outlet Shopping Centre is also about to get even bigger following a $20 million expansion due for completion in May 2017.

The expansion will increase the centre’s footprint by 3,500sqm to include an entirely new mall featuring 25 new premium outlet fashion brands.

The new retailers that will now call Harbour Town home join the Centre’s already impressive retail offering, which includes sought-after brands such as Coach, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Oroton, UGG, Nike, and Australia’s very first Victoria Secret Outlet store.

Harbour Town’s unique point of difference remains its ability to attract a number of store ‘firsts’ in Australia, Queensland and the Gold Coast.

Popular sports apparel brand Under Armour has opened in an Australian first; swimwear brand Tigerlily made its Queensland outlet debut, while Kathmandu, Lindt and Peter Jackson all arrived as the firsts in outlet offerings for the Gold Coast.

Lastly, Southport’s Australia Fair is in the midst of a $25 million renovation with the facelift to be unveiled before the end of 2017, just ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

The revitalisation will deliver a contemporary new street frontage for the retail, dining and entertainment complex and a refurbishment of the ground-level mall including many new specialty stores.

“We are excited to see the transformation progressing so well and look forward to unveiling a vibrant and contemporary shopping experience to the public,” says Australia Fair General Manager Ramon Otten.

A feature of the current works includes the Coles’ expansion which will deliver one of the most modern supermarket formats in Australia, with new specialty butchery, seafood and bakery areas.

Australia Fair’s current works follows the $15 million makeover of the Centre’s western section into Australia Fair Metro – a dynamic alfresco dining and retail precinct featuring a diverse array of international and local cuisine, fresh produce outlets and service providers.

See Business Gold Coast for more.

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