CONSTRUCTION is set to start on a massive $90 million shopping complex in Lake Macquarie that will include Bunnings Warehouse, Spotlight and Anaconda stores.
The 30,000-square-metre retail centre, on the Pacific Highway at Bennetts Green, is expected to create more than 600 full-time jobs once complete.
Two fast food outlets and a petrol station are also included in the plans.
Spotlight Group, which owns the Spotlight and Anaconda retail chains, last month received state government approval to start work on the first stage of the development.
On Monday, Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser said the centre would be the largest retail development in the city since the 2010 expansion of Charlestown Square.
She said it would provide an enormous boost to the local economy.
“This is land that has long been earmarked for development,” Cr Fraser said.
It’s wonderful to see the Spotlight Group backing the potential of Lake Macquarie.- Mayor Kay Fraser
“It’s wonderful to see the Spotlight Group backing the potential of Lake Macquarie and investing in a project that will generate local jobs for local families.
“A development of this size has the potential to significantly boost employment in surrounding suburbs, including Windale. It will further activate the area and, by establishing itself as a retail destination, provide flow-on benefits to other businesses nearby.”
Spotlight Group executive deputy chairman Zac Fried said the development would generate more than 825 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction and more than 600 full-time jobs once open.
Council initially sold the site for $20.3 million in January, 2016, to Hydrox Nominees – a land-holding company for Masters Hardware.
Approval was granted in 2015 for a Masters outlet, bulky goods units and a restaurant, but with the retail chain’s demise, the land was sold to Spotlight Group.
Of the $20.3 million sale price of the land, $5.58 million was transferred to council’s property investment reserve. The remaining $14.73 million went into council’s community land reserve, to be spent on community infrastructure.
Council’s head of development and planning Justin Day said it was “an exciting time for Lake Macquarie”.
“We’re already seeing booming residential development just up the road in Mount Hutton, as well as a $58 million makeover of the Lake Macquarie Fair shopping centre,” Mr Day said.
“This development comes on the back of a record $1.16 billion worth of development applications approved in the 2017-2018 financial year, and really demonstrates how Lake Mac is increasingly becoming the city of choice for investment and development.”
The site is bounded by the Pacific Highway to the east, Lake Road to the north, South Street to the south and Michael Bird Oval to the west. The development will not impact on the existing playing fields.
Stage 1 approved by the state government’s Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel consists of the Bunnings Warehouse at the southern end of the site, the central block of retailers including Anaconda and a fast food outlet, and utilities infrastructure works.
Spotlight Group will improve footpaths and roads around parts of the site, with new traffic lights installed on the Pacific Highway about 150m south of the Groves Road intersection.
The company has lodged development applications with Council for Stages 2 and 3.
Stage 2 includes Spotlight, while Stage 3 comprises a service station and second fast food outlet.
These are expected to be processed by the end of the year.
Spotlight Group said the new centre was expected to open within 14 months.