The centre, in Sydney’s northwest, first opened in 1981 and is currently undergoing a major $390 million redevelopment, which
will see its footprint expand to 136,00sqm to include a further 130 specialty retailers.
The completed centre will house around 400 retailers.
Situated in a booming growth corridor, Macquarie Centre will open in two stages, the first planned for August 2014, with a major launch of the entire centre to take place in October.
The centre has a total trade area of 337,770 people, who are expected to spend around $6 billion in retail by 2021.
It is the only super regional shopping centre in the area and is currently anchored by Myer, Woolworths, Target, Big W, JB Hi-Fi, and Event Cinemas.
The redevelopment will see the addition of David Jones, Aldi, Coles, Strike Bowling, and a further 1100 car parks. Construction on the site began in 2012.
Among the highlights of the new centre will be a new fresh food precinct, which AMPCSC MD, Bryan Hynes, told Inside Retail Magazine has been designed with a new format in mind.
“It won’t be just traditional fresh food,” he said. The fresh food mix is a blend of traditional fresh food retailing with best in class providores to reflect the ethnic diversity of the trade area and complement Woolworths and Coles’ offer.
“If you looked at it five years ago it would have been double the space. The best way to describe it is a mixture of fresh and dine in – we’ve got prepared meals and the likes of a Pattersons Deli that just don’t do deli, they’ve got a coffee shop as well,” he explained.
The 4500sqm Woolworths at Macquarie Centre has been recently refurbished and is in the top five stores in Australia for the grocery retailer. Coles will also add a brand new 5200sqm fresh format store as part of the stage one opening.
A portion of the fresh food precinct will include an Asian mall to cater to the local population, while fast track car parks to both Woolworths and Coles are designed to make grocery shopping trips easier for shoppers.
Fashion and internationals
A two level fashion galleria will be anchored by a new David Jones department store, and will include between four and six major international brands, to be complemented with Australian fashion retailers.
In terms of layout, the fashion galleria will link the new David Jones to the existing Myer store.
“We think we will end up with most, if not all the international brands,” says Hynes.
“We believe those international brands will bring sales we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, so it extends the trade quite considerably.
“We make no hesitation about it, we are making Macquarie Centre the one stop shop on the north shore.
“This will be a fashion and food offer that gets us into that market.”
The new centre will be light and natural, with what Hynes refers to as a “north shore” feel.
AMP has built out through the car parks for the expansion, and will use natural stone, timber, and sky light to create atmosphere in the centre.
“We want to let the retail do the talking,” says Hynes.
The newer parts of the centre will be punctuated by columns in the style of a European colonnade streetscape, with hero voids providing sight lines to the international hub, statement art pieces, and coffee shop style seating.
“We’ve lifted the skylight to 7m, so there is a sense of arrival,” says Hynes. “Iconic brands on all four corners and the end of the run will change people’s perception of Macquarie Centre.
“As a shopping centre owner, you can’t just be a shopping centre owner anymore. You’ve got to have the mix.”
The well known spiral layout of the centre will remain, however, the existing centre will also be refurbished to ensure the transition to the new areas is seamless for shoppers.
Other changes to the centre will include refits to the existing Myer and Big W stores.
To cater for the predicted population boom in the area, Macquarie also has a masterplan for the potential development of a town centre and approval for an additional 64,300sqm of retail floor space, should it be needed in the future.
The area is set for major growth in the coming decade, with student numbers at the neighbouring university to increase to 42,000 by 2031, and 6000 new apartments to be built and sold in the area in the coming years.
“The growth is quite staggering,” says Hynes. “When you look at Macquarie, the M2 has just been upgraded and the State Government has spent $2 billion on the train line, so all the trains from the Central Coast are shunted through here.
“Macquarie Business Park will increase to be the fourth largest office park in NSW, and Macquarie University will double its student numbers by 2020,” said Hynes.
This article first appeared in Inside Retail Magazine’s October/November 2013 issue. To subscribe, click here.