The unveiling of the most significant milestone for the $414 million redevelopment of the Stockland Green Hills shopping centre has smashed attendance records, with more than 100,000 customers flocking to the centre from Thursday 30 November to Saturday 2 December.
The unprecedented number of shoppers were eager to celebrate the opening of 75 specialty stores focusing on fashion, beauty, toys and technology, the first stage of an expansive entertainment and dining precinct, and an exciting new inclusive children’s playground.
The ‘All is new, All is bright’ themed launch had something for everyone including free Santa photos, a shimmery selfie wall, a pop-up ice-cream bar, a pop-up bar and a beauty bar. Customers enjoyed iced tea or a glass of sparkling at the pop up bar and the beauty bar was popular with women brightening their day with a sparkly eyes, twinkly lips or glittery cheeks make over.
A ‘beautifully bright shopping weekend’ welcomed shoppers to the centre with free entertainment, music, giveaways and exclusive retailer offerings to entice shoppers to get a head start on their Christmas shopping. Activities included complimentary personalised Christmas baubles and bespoke giftwrapping by the East Maitland Lions Club for a gold coin donation.
Stockland Green Hills Centre Manager Chris Travers said Thursday’s opening saw three times the number of customers through the door of the centre compared to the same day last year.
“The record-breaking crowds and the response from shoppers has been phenomenal and overwhelmingly positive for retailers with most new stores exceeding their sales targets. We are looking forward to a very busy Christmas as customers enjoy the new shops.”
At the 30 November opening, Stockland Group Executive and CEO, John Schroder was joined by guests including Meryl Swanson, MP, Federal Member for Paterson, Jenny Aitchison MP, Member for Maitland, Mayor Loretta Baker, Maitland City Council and Guy Russo, Chief Executive Officer of Department Stores at Wesfarmers all agreeing that the centre is a wonderful inclusive space for the community and an important economic opportunity for the region.
John Schroder said: “This is our largest retail redevelopment for the Stockland portfolio and we are pushing the boundaries with every element, bringing together the best in retail format, design, and entertainment.
“When the centre’s transformation is complete next year, it will be the premier retail, entertainment and casual dining destination for the Hunter and Newcastle regions – on par with any leading metro shopping centre in Australia.”
Meryl Swanson MP, Federal Member for Paterson, said: “I am pleased to see this exciting development taking shape, and I congratulate Stockland on providing this boost to our local economy through new jobs and a fantastic place for us to shop, dine and relax.”
Jenny Aitchison MP, Member for Maitland, said: “I am delighted to see the Stockland Green Hills redevelopment get underway, especially because of the thousands of new construction and permanent retail jobs it will create for the Maitland community. This is one of the fastest growing areas of New South Wales, and I’m pleased to see the investment in creating a vibrant community hub that will service our increasing population.”
Maitland Mayor, Cr Loretta Baker said: “Green Hills is an exciting development for the future of Maitland. This is confirmation of the potential our city holds for business and community growth, and the opening of the next stage has come just in time for Christmas.”
At the heart of the growing shopping centre is the new 5900sqm full-line Target with the latest in-store design and technology and 75 new retailers including Lorna Jane, The Body Shop, Secrets Ssssh, Skechers, Universal Store, EB Games, Harry Hartog Booksellers, and Build-a-Bear helping to bring customers a new shopping experience.
Stockland has ensured the retail mix is designed with the customer in mind and is proud to be bringing many new and premium retailers to the region.
Gavin Port, Chief Executive Bear/Director said: “We are looking forward to expanding our network of new kiosks into the Stockland Green Hills development. This is a new market for Build-A-Bear Workshop, so along with the terrific development, we have high expectations.” Co-creator of Harry Hartog Booksellers David Berkelouw said: “Like every Harry Hartog, our Stockland Green Hills shop will be a unique space that will enchant both adult and child alike. The shop will stock a full range of books including fiction, history, biography, travel, cooking, well-being and will have a particular focus on children’s books. In addition to our books, we will offer a unique range of gifts, homewares, stationery and children’s games. Harry Hartog Green Hills will be closely aligned to the interests of the Hunter community. We really look forward to serving this wonderful community.”
The first half of the new casual dining precinct was also unveiled offering exciting new foodie offerings including Rolld, Le Wrap, Soul Origin, Wok N Roll and Crafty Cuts.
The 2,310 square metre, 500 seat dining space includes a number of design features such as vertical greenery, suspended lanterns and integrated USB power points for mobile phone charging. Upon completion next year, the centre will have around 40 restaurants, food outlets and cafes. A striking new glass façade with approximately 588 glass panels and 145 triangular overlapping sun hoods has also been revealed, set to redefine the entry way of the centre, and offer natural light for diners with the new food court concealed.
“This is a pivotal moment in the redevelopment of Stockland Green Hills. We know our customers have had limited food options over the past year and we are very excited to unveil the first part of our revitalised food offering for the centre,” said Daniel Brabant, Stockland Green Hills development manager.
The third-stage opening also included the launch of a dedicated quiet room for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their parents and carers that provides a calm, low sensory environment.
On completion in mid-2018, the centre will feature the first new look David Jones department store in the Hunter, Harris Scarfe, JB Hi Fi, around 220 tenancies, and a new dining and entertainment precinct that will be the biggest and best in the region with a 900-seat Hoyts cinema, Chipmunks play centre, Timezone and lots of upmarket casual dining outlets.
You can watch the NBN news coverage here.