With an approval signed off in September 2016 by Brisbane City Council, Sunnybank's Market Square shopping centre is set to undergo a $40 million expansion and upgrade.
The development application for Market Sqaure's expansion and upgrade at 341 Mains Road was submitted on behalf of Gum Hoy and Lai Ming Yuen Family Trust and is intended to bring new retailers to the area.
The proposal for the development includes building an additional 6,785 square metres of commercial space, which will create an area total of 14,062 square metres for the shopping centre complex as a whole. The plans also include adding more car parking spaces so the final development will end up providing a total of 595 spaces. These spaces will answer a current need for parking availability, which the developers have acknowledged as a growing concern for residents who shop at Market Square, while also catering for an influx of new shoppers as the additional retail opportunities become available.
Demolition of the existing Westpac building will take place in the near future in order for this four-storey construction to take place.
According to the Southern Star, which reported on the development earlier this week, City Planning chairman Julian Simmonds said council had made several changes from the original proposal to reduce traffic and noise complaints.
“Council has limited the hours of operation for both indoor and outdoor areas and stipulated that noise mitigation measures be installed on the multi-level carpark,” he said.
“The developer will also be required to upgrade the intersections of Mains Rd with Elva St and McCullough St with additional turning capacity, to reduce traffic impacts to Mains Rd.”
Despite the recent council approval for the development, the application process has not exactly been smooth sailing. It was reported that a Sunnybank resident approached council about the development during the application process, and expressed in a submission to council concerns regarding securities and increase of cars detour or overflow of parking from Market Square.
“Our main concern is the proposed Market Square development and the impact of the increase in visitors and restaurants will have on all houses around the Market Square area,” the submission said, according to the Southern Star.
Despite the concerns, management and leasing company Chesterton International, which manages the centre, said residents should expect minimal disruption during construction because there was careful consideration going into the development's planning.
According to the Southern Star, part of council’s approval of the application included an acknowledgement of resident concerns. To minimise the impact on the neighbourhood, they added conditions that site works cannot start until a temporary 50-space carpark at 356 McCullough Street, with operation hours between 7am and 10pm.
However, despite initial concerns of disruptions to everyday life, the developers are confident their proposed shopping centre upgrade and expansion will be the answer to Sunnybank's long-term sustainability.
In their proposal the developers cited the SEQ Regional Plan as saying the City of Brisbane supports the largest proportion of the population in South East Queensland, with an estimated population of 991,000 in 2006. As the purpose of the SEQ Regional Plan is described as managing "regional growth and change in the most sustainable way to protect and enhance quality of life in the region”, Gum Hoy and Lai Ming Yuen Family Trust's proposal was written on the basis of supporting Brisbane's employment growth and competitive business environment. With a forecast that the population will increase to 1,270,000 by 2031 in the SEQ Regional Plan, Sunnybank's new Market Square is being designed to assist in providing the necessary employment opportunities to support the forecasted population growth and economic expansion for the wider community. The end result will be a new shopping complex that is consistent with the intent of the SEQ Regional Plan.
Stage one of construction is expected to start in 2017, with work being completed over three stages.