Trans­for­ma­tion on the draw­ing board

Plans to build new hous­ing, shops and a cin­ema com­plex have res­i­dents, traders, devel­op­ers and the coun­cil ex­cited about a bright fu­ture for for­mer sleepy town

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Danielle Jarvis

FOR­MERLY a sleepy back­wa­ter sub­urb of Syd­ney, St Marys is on the radar of en­thu­si­as­tic devel­op­ers with an eye for value.

With the planned ex­pan­sion by Mir­vac of St Marys Vil­lage shop­ping cen­tre and the Queen St precinct al­ready get­ting an over­haul, devel­op­ers are keenly eye­ing off op­por­tu­ni­ties.

One va­cant 40ha in­dus­trial lot has an ask­ing price of nearly $9 mil­lion while a 2ha res­i­den­tial site, com­pris­ing three houses, has a price tag of $2.2 mil­lion.

De­vel­oper 337 St Marys, which is plan­ning a unit com­plex at the en­trance to St Marys, says of the sub­urb: “The fu­ture de­vel­op­ment and growth plans for St Marys are mind bog­gling.

“In a few years, the St Marys we now know will be com­pletely trans­formed in keep­ing with the growth the west is cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to Pen­rith Coun­cil’s July busi­ness pa­pers, there are plans to ex­pand St Marys Vil­lage up to Queen St and build a cin­ema com­plex.

The pro­posal al­lows for 14,000sq m of pub­lic space in­clud­ing 8400sq m of green space and a free, un­timed base­ment carpark to re­place the West Lane 140 spa­ces.

A Pen­rith Coun­cil spokesman said the Mir­vac pro­posal lined up with its vi­sion for Queen St “to be the vi­brant heart of the district”.

He said the coun­cil was in dis­cus­sions with Mir­vac re­gard­ing its pro­posal but de­tails were still be­ing worked through.

“In­clud­ing shop­ping cen­tres into the fab­ric of the Town Cen­tre and pro­vid­ing im­proved pedes­trian con­nec­tion to Queen St are part of that vi­sion,” the spokesman said.

“Mir­vac’s pre­lim­i­nary con­cept is gen­er­ally con­sis­tent with this vi­sion as it ex­pands the shop­ping cen­tre to­wards Queen St and pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for new and im­proved pedes­trian connections. The up­grade will help boost eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and shop­per sat­is­fac­tion.”

Mir­vac de­vel­op­ment man­ager Robert Beck said Mir­vac was work­ing on a con­cep­tual mas­ter­plan for the site.

Mr Beck said he was ex­cited to ex­plore this op­por­tu­nity fur­ther and de­liver a re­vi­talised cen­tre.

“Should the pro­posal pro­ceed, this multi mil­lion-dol­lar in­vest­ment will im­prove the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence and con­ve­nience for our cus­tomers, while also ben­e­fit­ing the wider St Marys com­mu­nity through the in­te­gra­tion with the main street of St Marys and the cre­ation of hun­dreds of new jobs,” Mr Beck said.

Mir­vac did not de­tail its spe­cific plans for St Marys.

While some Queen St shop own­ers were con­cerned about the ef­fects of de­vel­op­ment on their busi­nesses most agreed the area was overdue for a facelift.

Danielle Tu­moana of Fernz Cafe said: “I do think the de­vel­op­ment will lift St Marys. I think there needs to be a place where young peo­ple and work­ing fam­i­lies can go to sit down and do a bit of shop­ping and eat­ing.

“That will cer­tainly add value to the prop­er­ties in the area as well.”

Hair and Beauty Bar­gain Bazaar owner Shivani

“His­tory is progress ... we aren’t against it. But it’s nice to keep your past as well.” Carol Volkiene

Chaud­hary said: “It would be good to brighten up the place and make it more mod­ern as long as they don’t get rid of all the trees and keep a bal­ance with na­ture.”

St Marys and District His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Carol Volkiene said the so­ci­ety was not against progress.

“But we would like to think what­ever is planned for St Marys re­tains the sub­urb’s soul and char­ac­ter,” Ms Volkiene said. “His­tory is progress ... we aren’t against it. But it’s nice to keep your past as well.”

Top: an artist’s im­pres­sion of the St Mary’s Tower de­vel­op­ment on the Great West­ern High­way. Mid­dle: the vi­sion for Queen St. Below: some of the hous­ing planned.

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