Castle Towers opens $180m redevelopment

Castle Towers opens $180m redevelopment

6 December 2019

QIC opened a new $180 million redevelopment at Castle Towers shopping mall in Sydney’s north-west this week, tapping into its proximity to a newly opened metro station.

The opening is the first stage of what could eventually become a $1 billion expansion around QIC’s Castle Towers mall.

Underpinned by an affluent trade area experiencing significant residential and infrastructure development, the Hills District is a key strategic growth corridor for Sydney with the total trade area spend predicted to increase from $6.4 billion to $12.1 billion over the next 10 years.

The Castle Hill underground station opened in May this year as part of the Sydney Metro Northwest project, which has created the country’s first automated metro system.

“It’s an incredible piece of real estate in this trade area which is growing so strongly,” Mr O’Brien told The Australian Financial Review.

“The infrastructure which is supporting it has been significantly improved through the metro rail. It’s a game-changer for the north-western suburbs. The travel time will be cut massively.

“For the future of Castle Towers we would see more retail. But the real opportunity at Castle Towers is building out a whole range of alternative uses on that site.

“The master plan we would see including office, residential, hotels, healthcare. We have significant opportunities on the existing footprint. We also have a number of strategic land parcels we own around the centre.”

The Castle Hill station connects to the mall via a new tunnel, and then a link through an under-utilised underground car park. That is now home to 45 retailers across 4700sq m of space, adding to the existing 113,000sq m retail footprint of the mall.

“Because the assets are so productive we are able to change the mix proactively to meet what consumers are looking for,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The quantum of space we have allocated to a whole range of services has increased significantly over the last 10 years.”

“For decades the highest and best use was more retail. In a lot of cases we’ve got enough retail on the ground to service the community. We just need to make it more productive.

“These are massive pieces of land. They are sitting on or adjacent to public transport infrastructure.

“The opportunity we have to add density and develop these sites and to take advantage of that infrastructure and add to the retail through alternative uses is massive.”

“As stewards of this important piece of community infrastructure for almost 30 years, Castle Towers is not only one of Australia’s top 10 performing super regional malls, but a town centre which locals can proudly call their own and feel is a key part of the fabric of the Hills community,” said Mr O’Brien.

Castle Towers attracts more than 18 million visits each year. The current MAT of $727 million and speciality MAT of $12,625 per square metre is 17% higher than the industry average and ranking it in the top 10 nationally.

“Sitting in the heart of one of Sydney’s most sought-after residential catchments, it was a strategic priority for us to work closely with Sydney Metro to deliver on our vision to transform Castle Towers into a destination with multi-modal transport options for the 18 million customers who visit each year.” said O’Brien.

The project required considerable co-ordination and co-operation with both the State Government and the Hills Shire Council to deliver a seamless connection from the metro and bus interchange to the new retail precinct.

O’Brien said he was also proud that their investment in this project had created around 1,400 jobs during construction and more than 200 hospitality and retail jobs now it’s complete.

“As we get closer to marking almost three decades of ownership of Castle Towers, QIC continues to invest heavily to redefine the role of a next generation town centre that the local community can continue to enjoy visiting to meet their shopping, dining and entertainment needs,” he added.

“We will continue to reinvest in and reshape Castle Towers so look forward with great excitement to working closely with our good friends at council in making the centre an exemplar for productive Australian retail.” said O’Brien.

The redevelopment of Castle Towers commenced in March 2018 with further works to be undertaken in stages from early 2020, as part of QICGRE’s masterplan for the town centre.