Coun­cil to back home cen­tre

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

The Gap Ridge Homemaker Cen­tre is set to be backed by mil­lions from the City of Kar­ratha to get the ma­jor re­tail project off the ground, but the fi­nal de­ci­sion will de­pend on pub­lic feedback.

In their Jan­uary meet­ing, City coun­cil­lors voted in favour of in­vest­ing about $27 mil­lion into the project over the next two years, af­ter re­ceiv­ing a draft busi­ness case from de­vel­oper LandCorp out­lin­ing fea­si­bil­ity, de­sign, con­struc­tion and leas­ing plans for the 9150sqm de­vel­op­ment.

The cen­tre, a house­holds goods and ser­vices shop­ping hub be­ing built at the in­ter­sec­tion of Dampier High­way and Madi­gan Road, is about 40 per cent sold so far and has se­cured Pil­bara Mo­tor Group as an an­chor ten­ant but needs ex­tra fund­ing to make short-term progress.

If funded by the City to com­ple­tion, the project will be the largest non-cash in­vest­ment it has ever un­der­taken.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said if built, the cen­tre would un­lock Kar­ratha’s re­tail po­ten­tial, but the coun­cil wanted to en­sure it was done in line with com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions.

“While in­vest­ing in the pro­posed Homemaker Cen­tre is po­ten­tially higher risk than putting the money in the bank, it will bring new re­tail­ers and jobs to the City for the ben­e­fit of our res­i­dents and po­ten­tially de­liver greater fi­nan­cial re­turns than fixed-term de­posits,” he said.

Coun­cil­lors noted the in­vest­ment risks were min­imised by the project’s di­vi­sion into mul­ti­ple phases so fund­ing could be stopped along the way.

Mr Long said the types of ten­ants in­ter­ested in com­ing to the cen­tre were “big box re­tail­ers that the com­mu­nity has told us they would like to see here”. BCF, Spot­light and PET­s­tock are among busi­nesses that have ex­pressed in­ter­est.

Kar­ratha Ad­ven­ture Sports owner Adam Am­broziak said while the cen­tre was an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity, it would have a big im­pact on smaller lo­cal re­tail­ers such as his.

“If they brought in BCF, we would sur­vive but we wouldn’t be mak­ing any money,” he said.

“We haven’t got the pop­u­la­tion to sup­port (the cen­tre).” Re­trav­i­sion owner Ge­orge Le­vis­sianos said which lo­cal busi­nesses were af­fected would be a mat­ter of luck depend­ing on the type of com­pe­ti­tion that moved in “so they’ve got to be very se­lec­tive in who they put in there”.

You can view the Homemaker Cen­tre busi­ness plan at the City of Kar­ratha office or any of the City li­braries. Submissions on the plan and fund­ing pro­posal are open un­til March 31.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the Gap Ridge Homemaker Cen­tre. Pic­ture: LandCorp

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