It’s taken 150 workers 14 months to construct, but Ballarat’s biggest retail development since Central Square is on the cusp of opening.
The 6.5-hectare block for the Delacombe Town Centre on the corner of the Glenelg Highway and Cherry Flat Road was purchased in October 2015 and has since undergone a complete $33 million transformation through 147,000 hours of labour.
The shopping centre will have a soft launch on Thursday before its grand opening on Saturday.
Managing director of developer H.Troon Steve Troon said residents throughout western Ballarat had been eagre to see retail infrastructure in the city’s growth corridor.
“There hasn’t been a retail development of any significant size since 1987 so clearly Ballarat was ready for some expansion in the right areas,” Mr Troon said. “The reaction (when the centre was announced) was it’s about time.
“Clearly when you’ve got multinational companies like Woolworths and Kmart signing on for long term leases, that in itself is a tick of confidence for those corridors.”
Over 90 per cent of the vacancies within the centre have now been filled, equating to more than 30 traders.
While not all stores will be opening their doors this week, big players Woolworths, Kmart and Showbiz Cinemas will all be active on Thursday morning.
Showbiz Cinemas director Chris Jones said being part of a larger development had provided greater certainty for success.
“Certainly it’s the growth corridor of Ballarat, but we wanted to be a part of this shopping centre,” Mr Jones said. “It would be no good being here by ourselves so to be a part of something a bit bigger makes a lot of sense for us.”
The centre is just one part of a multi-faceted development which will eventually feature a second stage further along Cherry Flat Road.
Future retail developments are also expected adjacent to the Delacombe Town Centre.
A bar and restaurant at the front of the centre operated by brewing company Broo is also expected to be complete by the end of the year.
While still bordered by paddocks to the south, east and west, the area is expected to house as many as 12,000 residents by 2030.
“A unique part of this development is that we’re here first before people come,” Mr Troon said.