Listed property developer Stockland is opening the doors this week to its largest retail project, a $414 million redevelopment of the Green Hills shopping complex near Maitland in NSW.
In an example of how shopping centre owners are responding to the online ecommerce threat, Stockland has doubled the size of the existing mall to focus as much on entertainment and providing a lifestyle experience in the face of the online juggernaut.
Stockland has confirmed the opening in May of a 2,300sq m H&M fashion retail store set over two levels.
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The grand opening of Stockland Green Hills will also see the opening of Mecca Maxima, Seed, Decjuba, Tigerlily, Bonds, Harris Scarfe and the first new format David Jones store in the Hunter Valley – taking the centre to around 74,000sq m.
Stockland group chief executive commercial property John Schroder said the group was adding value to its retail holdings across its $7.8 billion retail portfolio.
The $414 million project has more than doubled the size of the centre.
“With so many new brands and retailers, Stockland Green Hills will soon be transformed into a lifestyle and fashion mecca, that is on par with any leading metro-city shopping centre in the country,” Schroder said.
While the Maitland mall was one of Stockland’s better performers, potential shoppers were going further afield to take advantage of broader offerings in what’s known as “escape expenditure.”
The company is expecting the redevelopment to achieve an incremental internal rate of return of more than 12 per cent over the next decade.
Stockland is investing heavily in solar technology for its projects and will invest $10 million across its NSW shopping centres in Western Sydney, the Hunter Valley and the Illawarra.
Once complete, more than 17,000 solar panels will be installed on the rooftops of five Stockland shopping centres in New South Wales.
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“Investing in technology like solar is not just good for the environment, it also makes good business sense. Several studies across the globe have demonstrated that green retail town centres are cheaper to operate and can result in increased customer spending,” Schroder said.