CBD gets new life: Revitalised Westfield Hurstville opens doors

MOST of the $105 million redevelopment cost has been spent and Westfield Hurstville will launch its new look on Thursday, November 19.

But with the new look comes expectations from Westfield and Hurstville Chamber of Commerce that shoppers who have gone elsewhere in recent years will return to Hurstville CBD.

Westfield Hurstville centre manager Linda Hurst said shoppers would see a ‘‘total ambience upgrade’’ and improved facilities, including new floors and lighting, new escalators, improved parents room and bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, a car park upgrade with a ticketless parking system and a number of new shops.

Ms Hurst said no areas had been left untouched but the highlight of the development was the rooftop dining area.

The area, still crowded with workers in safety jackets and hard hats last week, will be home to five restaurants in an outdoor setting.

Ms Hurst said that when the shopping centre was built in 1987 there was a green space on the upper level called Snowy Park but over the years it was swallowed by a car park, and much of what was left was unused space. She said the new rooftop area was designed as a community space where people could congregate and linger. The area adjoins Event Cinemas, and music and entertainment are planned for the evenings.

She was confident the workers and tools would be gone by Thursday and the centre would sparkle at its relaunch.

"Westfield Hurstville has been transformed to provide an exciting boost to the local community," Ms Hurst said.

"Every part of this development has had our shoppers at heart and will offer a complete retail, social and entertainment experience.

"We look forward to welcoming locals to the opening on Thursday."

Westfield Hurstville attracted negative attention in November last year after Myer announced it was leaving the centre.

At the time, many shoppers said they had given up on Hurstville as a shopping destination.

The redevelopment and new retailers were expected to bring those shoppers back.

The new major retailers are Woolworths, Rebel, JB Hi Fi Home, Big W and Cotton On.

New fashion shops include Hype DC, Universal Store, Industrie, Forcast Clothing and Bonds.

- Launch day events will begin at 11.30am on Thursday with a ribbon cutting at Centre Court on level one. Chinese lion dancers and Lebanese drummers will entertain.

- At 6pm Samantha Jade will perform two songs from her new album.

-  Launch activities will continue into the weekend with Bollywood workshops on Friday starting at 10am; a meet and greet with Home and Away cast members Ada Nicodemou and Kyle Pryor on Saturday; Fully Sick pizza workshop with Tahir from Fat Pizza at 11am on Sunday. Pizza will be cooked by The Shed, one of the rooftop restaurants.

CHAMBER HOPEFUL

The new-look Westfield will be welcomed by Hurstville Chamber of Commerce, which is expecting a business upturn.

Chamber president Alan Zreik said business had been a little flat since work began in March, with many shoppers avoiding Hurstville and taking their custom to Roselands.

‘‘We hope the opening will bring people back,’’ said Mr Zreik, who runs a jewellery business in the centre.

‘‘We are already beginning to see more customer traffic through the centre.’’

Mr Zreik said the customer return could partly be due to improved car parking conditions as the new ticketless system is smoothed out.

‘‘The car park was a mess but it is getting better as the building work is finished,’’ he said.

Will you be returning to Westfield Hurstville now that work is complete?

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