Behind-The-Scenes: Constructing Australia’s Largest Retail Developments


With some of the most ambitious and noteworthy retail developments currently under construction, the Australian retail landscape has never looked better.

But when the scaffolding goes up and the project is in the hands of the construction team, we can’t help but to wonder what’s really going on behind-the-scenes.

Simon Gray, Group Managing Director of

Probuild, is pulling back the curtain and revealing exactly what is going into these ambitious projects, and there is one key feature: innovation.

“Evolution and innovation is the key to successful retail. Retail developers are constantly thinking of ways to differentiate themselves from the other developments out there,” Mr Gray said.

“Projects like Chadstone, Highpoint and Eastland are all innovative and adapting to the future trends of retail construction – that’s why they’re such successful projects.”

Here is an exclusive look into three of Australia’s largest retail projects:

Chadstone – 28 Stages of Development

A pre-assembled Gridshell ladder frame being lowered at Chadstone Shopping Centre.[/caption]As the largest shopping centre in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, Chadstone is a prime example of what can happen when a developer teams up with the right construction partner.

“Innovation and growth is at the centre of the Chadstone project,” Mr Gray said.

“One of the biggest innovations we’ve introduced into the project is the use of gridshell construction – a leading-edge technology that is self-supporting and requires no additional frames or columns.

“Alongside the gridshell construction, Chadstone is leading the way in terms of attractions. We’re introducing a new cinema experience and bringing in first-to-Australia retailers – all in order to maintain Chadstone’s status as Australia’s number one ranked retail and lifestyle centre.

“We’re also in discussions about potentially introducing hotel accommodation and rolling out free Wi-Fi to keep up with current demand for constant connectivity.”

Probuild has managed every major stage of expansion and redevelopment of Chadstone since 1988 – a 28-year relationship that has resulted in some impressive feats.

“The West-Mall stage of the redevelopment was the first project to receive a 5 Star Green Star rating under the Green Building Council of Australia’s formal retail rating tool,” Mr Gray said.

“The current stage we’re completing will see the addition of a 10-level office tower as well as a major retail expansion. All-in-all, we’re in the process of adding an impressive 60,000 square metres of space to the centre.”

Highpoint – Award Winner At ICSC Asia Pacific Shopping Centre

With an impressive name as the fourth-largest shopping centre in Australia, Highpoint is a retail development with a raw and youthful atmosphere that is constantly thriving.

“Working on a live build in a thriving centre presented us with a unique set of challenges, but we worked to overcome these and create a truly spectacular retail space,” Mr Gray said.

“At Highpoint, innovation was at the centre of what we wanted to achieve. For example, we didn’t air condition the public mall areas, but relied on spill-air from tenancies – this had a significant impact on the energy efficiency of the project.”

The new development at Highpoint also had a focus on reinvigorating the centre by featuring a trendy hawker-style food court with six sought-after tenancies.

“The goal at Highpoint was to maintain and build on the centre’s youthful and raw atmosphere, which meant we needed to carefully balance our vision with the constraints of working in a live environment,” Mr Gray said.

“We successfully managed to maintain this balance by handing over the stages of works in five distinguishable portions.”

With the innovative solutions and technology implemented at the centre, Highpoint was awarded a Silver Award in the Renovation/Expansion category at the recent ICSC Asia Pacific Shopping Centre Awards.

Eastland – 40,000 Square Metres Of Live Operating Environment

Probuild’s expansion of Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood, Victoria.[/caption]With the introduction of over 150 exciting new tenancies, the redevelopment of Eastland shopping centre is one of the most ambitious developments currently underway in Australia.

“Alongside the revamped shopping centre, the ambitious Eastland development is set to include a new restaurant-lined town square, a library and a learning and cultural centre – all set to add value to the community,” Mr Gray said.

“The Eastland Town Square is especially unique, and it provides a real entry statement and focal point with a theme around food. No other centre has quite yet managed to do something similar.

“Phase 5 of Eastland’s redevelopment only opened on 5 May 2016, and the development could potentially include the introduction of hotel accommodation.”

The construction team were faced with the challenge of working with over 40,000 square metres of live operating environment, which produced a project only the most experienced construction team could tackle.

“In live environments like Eastland, we have to remain mindful of the existing live environment and we worked hard to minimise our impact on the thriving environment,” Mr Gray said.

It’s clear to see that these projects all benefited from a team of experienced and innovative construction experts that kept working to drive the project to new heights.

So, what’s behind-the-scenes of Australia’s largest retail projects? Australia’s most experienced and innovative construction teams.


Simon Gray is the Group Managing Director of Probuild, Australia’s largest and most successful Tier 1 Construction Company. Currently delivering over 370,000 square metres of retail construction across the country – Probuild has successfully delivered more retail projects than any other commercial builder in Australia.

Alongside their retail successes, Probuild are also the driving force behind some of Australia’s most iconic developments: Aurora Melbourne Central (Melbourne CBD’s tallest residential tower), Elizabeth Quay in Perth and Jupiters New Suite Hotel on the Gold Coast. For more information on how Probuild can assist with your next project click here.

The Urban Developer is proud to partner with Probuild to deliver this article to you. In doing so, we can continue to publish our free daily news, information, insights and opinion to you, our valued readers. 

Main image, Chadstone Shopping Centre

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