Festival of fun at mall opening
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.