Stockland Shellharbour opened its doors today to a redeveloped retail centre that has 43 new speciality stores and 800 free car spaces.
Today’s opening is the first step in the centre’s development plans, costing $300 million dollars. Upon its full completion, Stockland Shellharbour will become the region’s major retail outlet.
One of the key features of the development is the increase in available free car spaces. A further 800 spots were unveiled today, with a total of 3500 spaces to be created in the coming months.
Stockland Shellharbour’s Centre Manager Brett Leonard spoke of the need to provide shoppers with accessible and affordable parking.
“It is a convenience factor and provides an incentive for shoppers,” Mr Leonard said.
Free parking is one of Stockland’s major aims throughout its Illawarra shopping centres.
“Stockland does not charge customers for parking anywhere, we aim to attract shoppers to our centres,” said Mr Leonard.
The retail centre is one of only a handful within the region to offer free parking to its customers. It is expected that shoppers from Wollongong will make the trip to Shellharbour, where parking options are more convenient.
At present, customers wishing to shop in the Wollongong CBD have to pay for parking if they wish to park within a close proximity to shops.
Marketing Manager Catherine Nixon was enthusiastic about the approach to free parking and does not believe that it will hamper other retail outlets that charge their customers to park.
“There is room within the area for large shopping centres,” she said. “There are more parks to come with the opening of Myer in 2013,” she said.
As well as a drastic increase in parking spaces, Stockland Shellharbour has installed large wind turbines, which will combine with solar panels to provide 34% of the centre’s energy use.
Mr Leonard believes that smart environmental choices are a key component for existing and future retail centres.
Words: Nathan Thompson
Photos: Simon Anderson
Video: Matt Baxter