Retailers wary of Westfield redevelopment but shoppers excited

SHOPKEEPERS are ‘‘in limbo’’ as preparations continue for a multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Westfield Miranda.

Many tenants of the tower block, which is to be demolished, have already left, while lessees of affected stores within Westfield are awaiting news of when they will have to go.

Businesses in other parts of the centre are worried about construction taking place at a time when trading conditions are already poor.

Westfield Group was unable to give any starting date for the work, but indicated it would not be far off.

The company advised Sutherland Shire Council last year it hoped to complete the work by this Christmas.

Co-chief executives Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy said last month the Miranda redevelopment was among new projects due to start this year.

The redevelopment of the original part of the centre at the western end will add 84 shops and kiosks and see Myer refurbished and Woolworths expanded into a full-line supermarket. There will also be a new cinema complex, relocated from the eastern end, along with an outdoor restaurant precinct.

Much of the 20 percent increase in floor space will cater for entertainment and lifestyle.

A paid parking system will start once the redevelopment is complete and 650 extra car spaces will be added.

Westfield Group has estimated the project will generate about 4000 jobs during construction.

On completion, about 850 additional full-time and part-time retail jobs will be created.

Sam Kahale has operated a shoe repair and key cutting business in Westfield since 1992 and expects to receive notice to move at any time.

He doubted he would be able to stay in the complex because rents were expected to increase substantially.

‘‘You have to mend a lot of shoes and cut a lot of keys to make that sort of money,’’ he said.

Ramy Fahmy has operated a tailor and clothing alterations business in the tower block for 24 years.

He said he needed to leave within a couple of months.

‘‘Many others have already gone,’’ he said. 

‘‘I don’t know where we will go. We will wait and see what they offer as an alternative.’’

SHOPPERS EXCITED

Kerry Clifford and her daughter N’dene Wallis are among shoppers who are looking forward to the redevelopment.

Mrs Clifford, of Yowie Bay, remembers the excitement when the then Miranda Fair — a name still used by many — opened in 1964.

‘‘I went to school at Port Hacking High across the road and we used to walk through here on our way home,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a great meeting place. Everyone comes up here, but the Myer end really needs a facelift.’’

Mrs Wallis, of Kirrawee, who has two children, Spencer, 4, and Peyton, 1, said it was ‘‘great for kids’’ and was pleased it might end up even better.

Sarah Collins, of Woronora, who has two children, Jackson, 20 months, and Heidi, four months, said she hoped there would be new lifts to replace those that were ‘‘continually out of order’’.

Allison McInerney, mother of Flynn, 3, and Chloe, 1, said she hoped there would be better bathrooms.

What improvements would you like to see at  Westfield Miranda?

Welcome changes: Spencer Wallis, 4, and his sister Peyton, 1, with their mother N’dene and grandmother Kerry Clifford at Westfield Miranda. Picture John Veage

Welcome changes: Spencer Wallis, 4, and his sister Peyton, 1, with their mother N’dene and grandmother Kerry Clifford at Westfield Miranda. Picture John Veage

Awaiting notice: Shoe repairer Sam Kahale. Picture: Chris Lane

Awaiting notice: Shoe repairer Sam Kahale. Picture: Chris Lane

Comments