THE new-look Westfield Miranda received a giant ‘‘wow’’ as shoppers descended in their thousands on the weekend.
Many were additionally keen to shelter from the heat inside the airconditioned malls or on the steps and seats beneath the sprawling branches of the old fig tree at the main entrance.
Centre manager Kate Holsgrove said customer numbers on the weekend were ‘‘significantly up’’ on pre-development averages. ‘‘We have had tremendous feedback from people in the centre and on Facebook,’’ she said.
‘‘Restaurants were busy all weekend, with customers enjoying the alfresco dining options under our gorgeous fig tree.’’
Alison Li, of Miranda, and Matthew Robson, of Caringbah, were among young visitors to give the project the thumbs-up.
‘‘It’s a lot different, very similar to the city with the high-end fashion range,’’ Ms Li said.
Mr Robson liked the new food area, because ‘‘it’s more community based and a better atmosphere than sitting in the food court’’.
The opening brought back memories for Wes and Lola Meyer, who made their home in Miranda in the same year Miranda Fair opened in 1964.
They described the new facilities as ‘‘beautiful — absolutely marvellous’’.
Micaela Lamont, of Engadine, and Alison White, of Barden Ridge, were delighted.
‘‘We love it because it’s modern and has so many new shops,’’ Ms Lamont said.
Ms White said she ‘‘didn’t expect it to be this good’’.
Children crowded around a Lego promotion, making ornaments for their family Christmas tree, while a column-mounted digital pinball game also attracted the young and the young at heart.
On opening day, last Thursday, Madeleine Phillips and Lillian Palumberi, of Lugarno, arrived at 6.40am to head a queue for $20 shoes in a store promotion.
Reactions on the Leader website varied with Miss C posting: ‘‘Love it! Was gobsmacked and so mesmerised by it all. This is exactly what the centre needed!’’
Tom wasn’t so impressed: ‘‘Women’s fashion shops and food. Don’t bother going if you want anything else.’’
MORE TO COME
The official opening will be at 9.45am on Thursday, followed at 10am by a swimwear fashion parade hosted by Cheyenne Tozzi.
Eighteen months of work went into the project.
A new rooftop cinema complex and more restaurants are due to be completed by the middle of next year.
Westfield originally said the project would cost $435 million but the figure later was raised to $475 million.
What do you like, or dislike, most about the centre?