City may in­vest in Home­maker Cen­tre

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Kar­ratha’s first big box re­tail precinct may be boosted by City of Kar­ratha in­vest­ment to help get the strug­gling project off the ground.

The Land­corp-owned Gap Ridge Home­maker Cen­tre is 40 per cent sold but progress on the de­vel­op­ment has stalled since an an­chor ten­ant was an­nounced in March.

At the City’s De­cem­ber coun­cil meet­ing, Coun­cil­lor Daniel Scott said this was likely be­cause big re­tail­ers were fo­cus­ing on east coast ex­pan­sion in the cur­rent eco­nomic cli­mate.

Pil­bara Mo­tor Group was signed on as an an­chor ten­ant and there have been ru­mours of Su­per Re­tail Group, which owns BCF, show­ing in­ter­est, but lit­tle has hap­pened since this an­nounce­ment.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the Home­maker Cen­tre was an im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment for the growth of the City.

“The City in­vests our sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings in a range of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts and com­mer­cial prop­erty such as this could po­ten­tially pro­vide good re­turns while be­ing ben­e­fi­cial to lo­cal con­sumers,” he said.

“There’s cer­tainly a lot of peo­ple who want to see this Home­maker Cen­tre be­come a re­al­ity to bring new re­tail­ers and more choice to the city.

“Whether coun­cil has a role in mak­ing that hap­pen de­pends on the level of com­mu­nity sup­port for coun­cil to be in­volved and whether the in­vest­ment is go­ing to pro­vide suf­fi­cient re­turn on our in­vest­ment.”

Cr Fiona White-Har­tig voted against the mo­tion, claim­ing the cen­tre would hurt ex­ist­ing busi­nesses if it went ahead

“The mar­ket should drive in­vest­ment and de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

“It is not eco­nom­i­cally vi­able and is not a space the coun­cil should be in.”

In sup­port­ing the mo­tion, Cr Scott said Kar­ratha would never be on the radar for the big com­pa­nies it was hoped would be lured to the cen­tre when com­pet­ing with larger cities on the east coast.

A busi­ness case and fea­si­bil­ity study will be pre­sented to the coun­cil at its Jan­uary meet­ing.

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