Coles retail development transforms city landscape

Paul And Greg Option 1  TBW Newsgroup
GRAND ENTRANCE: Lanskey Constructions senior site manager Paul Baird and site foreman Greg Spicer are pleased with how the $12m Coles Mount Gambier development is progressing with the store expected to be opening to the public in early 2021. Picture: MOLLY TAYLOR

Jamil Jones TBW Newsgroup
HARD AT WORK: MG Plasterers labourer Jamil Jones is one of around 40 Mount Gambier tradespeople on site at the Coles development.

MOUNT Gambier’s prominent multimillion dollar Coles development continues to rapidly transform the inner-city landscape with construction progress remaining on track for completion in late 2020.

Around one-fifth of the near- 200 workers on site are Limestone Coast tradespeople engaged in the complex build, supported by a mix of South Australian and Victorian crews helping to complete the development.

Tenants for the project’s 10 – plus associated speciality stores continue to be sourced, aiming to diversify the central retail hub with developers receiving interest at both local and national level.

A Coles spokesperson yesterday told The Border Watch around 25 new retail jobs would be created when the store opened in early 2021.

GLG director Campbell Blennerhassett believes the development will renew the inner-city section of Mount Gambier, buoyed by the adjoining $6.8m ALDI development and the recently-relocated She’s Apples Market and Baker’s Delight stores.

Mr Blennerhassett said the COVID-19 pandemic had not adversely impacted construction with interstate collaborations being managed efficiently.

“The development is progressing well and everything is on track,” he said.

“Equipment will arrive on site this week from Victoria but it is already pretty well manufactured and finished so it did not create any delay.

“I guess in a way it has made us think forward in the project and manage those issues, but to this day it has not delayed us at all.”

With a large quantity of Victorian workers involved, Mr Blennerhassett said all interstate tradespeople had organised temporary accommodation while working in Mount Gambier to comply with travel restrictions.

“Recent changes have made things difficult with Victorian tradespeople having to stay on-site if they were already working in South Australia,” he said.

“It has in some ways helped us because everybody is working harder and faster.

“The one thing we do not want on our site is an outbreak of COVID-19 and we have been running with all necessary policies.”

Mr Blennerhassett said a key feature of the develop would be i t s large parking capacity and ease of accessibility.

Coles South Australia general manager Sophie Wong said the major multi-million dollar redevelopment would create approximately 25 new retail jobs in the Mount Gambier community.

“Our customers are increasingly looking for convenient, healthy meal solutions and the brand new store will offer more choice and an enhanced shopping experience for residents in Mount Gambier and surrounding suburbs,” Ms Wong said.

“The new supermarket will feature an expanded convenience range with ready-made meals, snacks and drinks, a brand new deli and bakery, a market-style fresh produce hall and an improved look and feel.”

Ms Wong said Coles Mount Gambier was continuing to trade through construction at its existing site, with the new supermarket scheduled to open early 2021.

Tenants for over 10 speciality storefronts are currently being sourced with CBRE Australia shopping centre leasing head Lewis Torkington revealing there had been overwhelming interest from both local and national businesses.

Mr Torkington said he considered the brand-new storefronts’ location to be a strength and a standout feature.

“Coles are obviously relocating from its previous site into I think a much stronger destination,” he said.

“It is an open-aired centre so there is no internal mall. You will literally be able to drive up to where you need to go and walk in and walk out without having to go into the centre.

“I think there will be a bit of competition once we really ramp up the leasing campaign.”

Mr Torkington said there was plans for a convenient mix of businesses which were easily accessibly to customers.

“We are thinking essential services such as hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons and everyday needs,” he said.

“Also potentially some fresh food including a butcher, bakery and a decent food offering for the area.

“Some are franchisees for national brands, there are several banks which are engaged with us and making enquiries to make the move.”

Construction will continue at the site in the coming months with a handover date yet to be confirmed.