MONDAY OCTOBER 20 UPDATE
Crowds flocked to Westfield Miranda on the weekend after the Thursday opening of the first stage of the $475 million redevelopment.
Regional manager Kate Holsgrove said the number of shoppers, measured by electronic counters on doors, was up 40 per cent on an average Saturday and 50 per cent on an average Sunday.
‘‘We had fantastic feedback,’’ she said.
‘‘Customers were pleasantly surprised with the fresh food market, commenting that’s it’s so different to what they expected — in a good way.
‘‘Ragamuffin was sold out and Bannos Brownies had trouble keeping up with demand.
‘‘There was loads of entertainment with live bands, RedFoo, Benji Marshall, Sarah Wilson, Andy Allen, Rena Patten, Kids in the Kitchen and cooking demonstrations.
‘‘Two thousand glasses of champagne were given away.’’
Ms Holsgrove said the valet service in the new Kingsway car park was used heavily.
‘‘The new car park worked really well but there was some congestion in the Jackson Avenue car park, and we had traffic controllers working there,’’ she said.
A lack of ATMs (automated teller machines) in the new section drew some criticism, Kate Holsgrove said.
‘‘We will soon have more in place,’’ she said.
‘‘‘You always learn some lessons from an opening but overall the reaction was very positive.’’
The second stage of the project is due to be completed a few weeks before Christmas.
Do you like what Westfield has done?
The opening of the first stage of the $475 million Westfield Miranda redevelopment this morning was a low key event.
A couple of dozen shoppers were kept waiting behind a barricade until just after 9am when they were allowed into the new area.
At the same time, workmen were packing up and shopkeepers were still setting up their stores.
By 10am, the number of shoppers had grown considerably and the place was "buzzing".
Monet Baker was among shop workers who had an early start.
"I got here at 6.45am, and we are nearly there, she said as she set up fruit trays at Top Juice.
Michelle Barden, of Miranda, who was there with her daughter Isabelle, said the new area was "absolutely massive - a lot bigger than I expected - with a great variety of shops".
Keith Hamilton drove from Peakhurst to "have a look around".
"It's much better than (Westfield) Hurstville and particularly Roselands, which is too outdated," he said.
While Westfield met today's deadline for opening the new area, it appeared they had fallen short on upgrading adjacent areas, where much work still has to be completed.
A three-week trial of the new paid parking system began at the shopping centre this week. Fees will apply from November 3. Motorists will be allowed a total of three hours of free parking a day, no matter how many times they enter or leave the centre. Fees for parking beyond that time will range from $3 to $40.
What do you think of the improvements?
The Leader found a hive of activity during a visit today, and it appeared it would be a long night for many of those involved in the project.
Westfield announced ‘‘a series of exciting events and celebrations’’ over four days to mark the opening, which is a forerunner to the centre’s official opening when stage two is completed shortly before Christmas.
Shoppers visiting the centre from today will find a new fresh food section, with some fashion and homewares.
A new Woolworths supermarket anchors the fresh food section, with wide range of smaller retailers around it.
Regional manager for the Scentre Group, Kate Holsgrove, said the new fresh food market featured ‘‘a rich variety of top quality produce in a rustic, farmers-market style setting’’.
‘‘Along with the 20 retailers in the new market-style fresh food precinct, we are opening 39 specialty stores across homewares, fashion and beauty services including Wheel & Barrow and Mozi with more to come before the end of the year,’’ she said.
‘‘Thousands of shoppers are expected to visit from tomorrow and be among the first to experience the centre’s new and improved fresh food products.’’
Ms Holsgrove said a program of events would range from free coffee for two hours by one store to demonstrations and appearances by special guests and live music.
Some of the events
■ 12.30pm-1.15pm: Kenwood Blender smoothie station demonstration.
■ 3.30pm-4.30pm: Australian Beer & Wine School presents… A perfect match
■ 5pm-6pm: Masterchef’s Andy Allen hosts ‘‘The Next Element’’.
■ 6pm-8pm: Redfoo appears live at La Freak Pop-Up shop.
■ 7.30pm-9pm: Live music performance from The Faders.
■ 1.30pm-2.30pm: Rishi Desai Modern Indian cooking demonstration.
■ 2.30pm-3.30pm: Entertaining made Easy with Clancy Atkinson.
■ 12pm-5pm: Pop-up Bar and live music.
■ 9.30am: Kids in the Kitchen healthy cooking demonstration.
■ 1.30pm-2.30pm: Sarah Wilson ‘‘I Quit Sugar’’ hosts ‘‘Bike N Blend’’.
■ 12pm-5pm: Pop Up Bar and live music.
■ 10am-12pm: Decorate your own pancake at the Pancake Bar.
■ 1.30pm-2.30pm: Lucy Wallrock ‘‘Simply Sweet’’ baking display..
Have you visited the new section yet, and what do you think?