Westfield Doncaster to get $500m revamp

Westfield Doncaster to get $500m revamp

31 May 2019

Melbourne’s Westfield Doncaster is poised to become one of the largest shopping centres in the country after its $500 million expansion plans were given the green light by Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne, The Urban Developer reports.

The approved masterplan includes a 14-storey tower atop a two-level retail podium—adding 43,000 square metres of retail and 18,000 square metres of commercial office space—an expanded bus interchange, and multi-storey car parking.

The completed additions will allow the Scentre Group-owned shopping centre to overtake its recently-revamped neighbour Eastland by more than 20,000 square metres, but it still falls behind Chadstone, Westfield Fountain Gate and Westfield Pitt Street.

Stewart White, director of development and asset management, said the masterplan would allow Scentre to realise the full potential of the Doncaster site.

The first stage of the redevelopment will focus on increasing high-end specialty fashion, dining and entertainment, as well as the health and wellness offering at the well-known mall, which is nearing 50 years old, says the AFR.

The redevelopment, if approved by the Manningham City Council, is expected to be built in three stages over three years.

State planning minister Richard Wynne said that the expansion will be a major boost for the Victorian economy.

“Melbourne is already the nation’s retail capital and this major expansion will cement its reputation for the years to come,” Mr Wynne said.

While anaemic consumer spending has put pressure on Australia’s shopping centre landlords, Victorians spent a record $78.9 billion on retail sales over the last year.

Scentre’s move to increase the office component at Doncaster comes as retail landlords more broadly look to buttress their portfolios against headwinds in the sector.

Earlier this month, Scentre Group partnered with Perth’s Perron Group to sell a 50 per cent stake in Westfield Burwood for $575 million.

Scentre Group chief executive Peter Allen said the proceeds will be initially used to repay debt.

“The proceeds will provide the group with further capital to pursue our strategic objectives of creating long-term value for securityholders,” Mr Allen said.

Around the same time, the country’s second biggest listed retail landlord Vicinity reported sales growth across its specialty and mini-major tenants of 3.3 per cent, down from 4.2 per cent in December.

Vicinity has earmarked a group of about 50 malls it has designated as “destination” centres that are higher-performing. Sales growth in that cluster is at 3.9 per cent.