City may invest in Homemaker Centre
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.