HUNTER staff at the 30 new and relocated retailers opening at Westfield Kotara this week will be working around the clock to stock shelves before they welcome shoppers from 9am on Thursday.
Centre manager Kate Murphy said she expected between 80,000 and 100,000 shoppers to visit during four days of festivities – including live music, entertainment, pop-up bars and giveaways – to celebrate the opening of its 7000-square-metre youth and urban precinct on level two.
It’s the start of a $160 million transformation.
“We’ve tried to pay homage to the surf, skate and lifestyle culture that we have here in the Hunter,” Ms Murphy said.
“It’s about evolution from being a shopping centre to a living centre where we can provide something for everyone.
“We want to be a community hub, a meeting place.”
Ms Murphy said the centre “absolutely” wanted to gain an advantage over rival Charlestown Square.
“We look to be the Hunter’s premium fashion and lifestyle destination and I believe this … will help deliver that.”
Retailers include a combined EB Games and Zing Pop Culture store, a JB Hi-Fi with an area to trial new games, a Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski with a surfboard shaping bay and architectural elements paying tribute to Mark Richards, plus the region’s first W Hair Bar and Mr & Mrs Jones.
Parrey Skate will open as a pop up for the festivities before a full opening in late November.
Shoe store Billini will open in the carpet mall.
The precinct also has space set aside for Kmart – which does not yet have a confirmed opening date – Everything Football, which will open before Christmas, and another yet-to-be announced retailer.
Artist Scott Marsh has painted a mural of a bird of paradise – the centre’s logo from when it was known as Garden City – which will be printed onto staff scarves.
The centre will introduce ticketless parking on Thursday that relies on licence plate recognition technology, as well as reopen more than 380 car spaces spread across level one and 2M.
The extension of the level three dining and entertainment precinct The Rooftop will open from November 15.
Gorman, The Academy Brand and Savant Apothecary will open in the carpet mall before Christmas.
Zara will open across the former Country Road, Seed and Bardot Junior space in coming months.
The centre opened H&M, Shieke and Lotus Express earlier this month.
Work started on the centre's redevelopment on October 4 last year.
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