Fes­ti­val of fun at mall open­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

TENS of thou­sands of peo­ple are ex­pected to flock to the Wil­lows Shop­ping Cen­tre later this month when its $ 80 mil­lion ex­pan­sion is opened to the pub­lic.

The cen­tre’s own­ers yes­ter­day pro­vided me­dia with a sneak peek of the re­de­vel­op­ment and an­nounced Au­gust 24 as the open­ing date with four days of cel­e­bra­tions and events.

The cen­tre has al­ready com­pleted and opened stage one of the re­de­vel­op­ment in­clud­ing a larger Wool­worths and a Mar­ket Court of fresh food op­er­a­tors.

The fi­nal stage will in­clude a 2500sq m Har­ris Scarfe depart­ment store, a large for­mat Cot­ton On, Surf Dive N Ski, Sports­girl, Ur­ban Wear, Cat­a­logue, Jeans West and Pan­dora.

Dexus se­nior de­vel­op­ment man­ager Mark Bar­rett said they were proud to show­case the new- look Wil­lows to the peo­ple of Townsville.

“Shop­pers will dis­cover a bright, fresh lay­out with im­proved car park­ing and ameni­ties in­clud­ing new rest rooms, par­ents rooms and com­fort­able break­out seat­ing zones,” Mr Bar­rett said.

He said about 85 per cent of the stores had been leased which was con­sid­ered a good re­sult given the dif­fi­cult trad­ing con­di­tions in re­gional re­tail mar­kets.

“We don’t al­ways want to be the big­gest and shini­est. ( Our de­mo­graphic is) young fam­i­lies and price point is im­por­tant,” Mr Bar­rett said.

Dexus re­gional prop­erty man­ager Andrew Stal­lan said they ex­pected tens of thou­sands of peo­ple to at­tend four days of open­ing cel­e­bra­tions from Au­gust 24.

A Fes­ti­val of Fun and Colour will fea­ture more than 20 fam­ily- friendly events with give­aways and store- open­ing spe­cial of­fers.

“We hope to pack the malls. There will be traf­fic con­trol and ex­tra se­cu­rity. We en­cour­age ev­ery­body to come,” Mr Stal­lan said.

“There’s 2700 car parks at the Wil­lows so there’s plenty of park­ing and we’ll make sure ev­ery­body can get around nice and safely.”

The Wil­lows ex­pan­sion started about 18 months ago and has pro­vided a big boost to em­ploy­ment.

Up to 300 peo­ple have been em­ployed daily on the con­struc­tion and fit- outs and an­other 70 to 80 re­tail jobs will be cre­ated with the ad­di­tion of about an­other 8000sq m of re­tail floorspace.

READY FOR BIG DAY: Dexus Prop­erty re­gional man­ager Andrew Stal­lan and se­nior de­vel­op­ment man­ager Mark Bar­rett in the next stage of the Wil­lows Shop­ping Cen­tre ex­pan­sion which will open on Au­gust 24. Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

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