A focus on fashion retailers has underpinned the first stage of leasing at Darwin’s $300 million Gateway Shopping Centre.
Melbourne-based Comac Retail Property Group said the four-year leasing period included challenges such as torrential rain slowing construction for months and a 2.5 metre salt water crocodile that took up residence in the partly constructed cinemas.
On completion Gateway will be a 34,000sqm centre.
Comac managing director Michael Haddrick said stage two will consist of 3,000 sqm of dining including 8 restaurants to open mid-2018.
He said a team led by Comac’s Director Chris Quirk had attracted a mix of existing and new tenants to Darwin to create a vibrant shopping centre serving Palmerston in the southern catchment of the NT capital.
Located in Palmerston, its primary catchment is the fastest growing region in Darwin that has expanded from 20,000 to 36,000 people in the past decade with further development planned in coming years. In addition, a further 20,000 people reside in the neighbouring southern Litchfield region.
Haddrick said Gateway was designed to capture most of the $400 million a year of ‘retail leakage’ from the region that previously went into Casuarina, interstate or overseas.
He said the centre is anchored by a Big W and Woolworths Supermarket with 85 specialty shops, a food court and a restaurant precinct among a water area. There are six state of the art Event Cinemas including two V-Max screens – the only two in the Territory.
The focus on fashion in the centre – an area that had limited offer in Palmerston and the South in the past – has seen an influx of 26 fashion outlets.
“We sourced new fashion retailers to Darwin to suit the centre such as Ximivogue, Jeanswest, Emporium and Edge Clothing as well a number of national fashion stores that have expanded into Gateway including mini majors Surf Dive ‘n Ski and Intersport.
“Non fashion tenants include Todd Malones Gourmet Butchery from Port Douglas, and local icons The Parap Bakery and Nico’s Barrister Bar ,” said Haddrick.
Gateway has been developed by the Challenger Group and the Coombes Property Group, who purchased the land 15 years ago, with this vision in mind.
“It is the first full ‘bells and whistles’ shopping centre in Darwin since the 1970s and it includes high quality finishes and an extraordinary air conditioning system to cope with the humid Darwin weather,” Haddrick said.
“The food court is very important in Darwin with such a high rate of eating out. Palmerston boasts among the nation’s top performing McDonalds, KFC, Domino’s and Hog’s Breath Cafes,” Haddrick said.
He said turnover in the first month exceeded expectations and the community response had been very positive.
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