STOCKLAND Wendouree’s $110 million expansion has taken its first step forward.
Ballarat City Council voted on Wednesday night to ask Planning Minister Matthew Guy to prepare a planning scheme amendment and permit application for the shopping centre.
The combined application will then be put on public exhibition.
Speaking before the council vote, Stockland regional manager Tim Beattie said the company had a "lot of faith in the Ballarat area".
"We are keen to invest here," Mr Beattie said.
The expansion will include a new supermarket and discount department store, the Wendouree Library relocation, and a new public plaza and forecourt with about 50 speciality stores.
The northern part of the centre will be knocked down, a 514 space multi-deck carpark will be built at the site’s western end, and road access and intersections will be upgraded.
Five houses near the corner of Park and Norman streets have been bought for the redevelopment.
Councillor Judy Verlin said it was an exciting opportunity for Ballarat.
"This is a vote of confidence in the Ballarat economy," Cr Verlin said.
"This sends a strong message about where Ballarat is positioning itself into the future."
Cr Verlin said it was a long process and would have a lot of scrutiny and a lot of community conversations.
"Our activity strategy gives us an understanding of what the current retail sector looks like.
"At the same time, we don’t want to take our eye off the CBD.
"But this is more than just a retail space.
"It is providing an outcome for the whole community."
Councillor Ben Taylor said he saw people travelling to Ballarat to shop when he was growing up in Maryborough.
"We are starting to evolve into the capital of the west," Cr Taylor said.