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Central Park retail is photogenic..

17 Nov


Wow, I mean very nice, obviously. The Germans in the office swan around speaking of “European architecture”- obviously, the towers at Central Park are just boxes covered with gimicks, but wonderfully done. Quite an oasis from an otherwise chaotic part of the city. Above we see the main residentail tower (Jean Nouvel?) with its fantastic hanging gardens. At the base of this is the retail component that opened very recently.


A closer view of the shopfronts. Huge shopfronts (around five meters or fifteen feet) with a token awning above.


Mirrored ceiling at the entry area.


Once I got in I was pleased by the simplicity of the deign. The plain white uncomplicated ceilings and returns and the dark stone floors (becoming the norm in fashion retail..).


The ceiling has a vast skylight with about a foot of water held on top- the small waves make the light shimmer.
The interior was done by PTW, with the original concept done by the Buchan Group.


There is a rather alluring mysterious ivy surrounded escalator heading down into the depths, but my impulse was to climb.



A lot of the fashion retail has some pared-back, sophisticated design. I love the exposed services here.


Simple candy stripes.



The food court is up a couple of levels. It’s still quiet and being fitted out, but I expect that this will become a very popular space.









Out the back, the bottom supermarket level connects through to a wonderful outdoor courtyard. This is also surrounded by food offerings and is filled with hip brazilian music. Again, I expect that this will become a great space.



And finally we look up to be reminded just how freaking hip this building is.


The Big Guns of Sydney Retail

1 May

Shelley Gare

Frock shopping is a spectator sport. When Nicole and Simone Zimmermann decided to move into their shiny premises in the spanking new Westfield Sydney, they took a deep breath and splashed out on a massive cafe-au-lait coloured leather sofa, imported from Italy. There wasn’t much change from $30,000.

So far the sofa has cushioned many bottoms. Boyfriends are keen on it. One Saturday afternoon, I watch four blondes sprawl over its comforting contours while they scrutinise a fifth young woman as she tries on a pale-pink strapless gown, twirling for their approval.

The sofa would never have fitted into the Zimmermanns’ former city store in the historic Strand Arcade with its beautiful little rooms and Victorian dimensions. “It was always our plan to have a single location that was everything,- says Simone, -and the Westfield store has been tracking amazingly well. It’s doing much, much better than we imagined.”

Shopping is also a blood sport. The arrival of Westfield in the city has amped up the competition as effectively as Angelina Jolie arriving in a strapless gown at a P&C cocktail party. There is glamour, polish and the larger-than- life whoosh of a superstar, all backed up by a business machine that is targeting Sydney attention spans and wallets with the focus of a diva eyeing off an Oscar.

After two years of construction chaos, relocation and traffic snafus, Westfield Sydney opened last October with 130 shops and by the end of July, about 200 (including Miu Miu, Zegna and Prada) will be trading. The much awaited Spanish brand Zara has just opened.

Burberry, 343 George Street

Meanwhile, the luxury brands are putting on a show, too. Burberry has moved into a palazzo-style former bank building at 343 George Street where it now has three times the floor space of its former premises on King Street. Louis Vuitton’s new flagship store, on the corner of King and George, is scheduled to open in November. It. too, will triple its size. Dior will open in Vuitton’s old premises on Castlereagh in mid-2012 and Prada is moving from Martin Place to Westfield.

Louis Vuitton has submitted its plans for 365 George Street (the old Blacket Hotel on the corner of King Street) with the City of Sydney. Estimated to cost $9.5 million, the new Louis Vuitton store will be spread across three floors and house the company’s complete collection. It will also feature artworks, lounge areas, a travel room, V.I.P room and a balcony.

For years, central Sydney has been drab, deserted at night and only spotted with people on weekends as customers shopped at suburban malls instead. David Jones and Myer have done their best with revamps over the years, the Queen Victoria Building got a luxury $48-million refurbishment in 2009 and other arcades like the Strand, The Galeries and, more recently, the newly upgraded MidCity were pockets of shopping civilisation in the midst of stretches of desolate dinginess broken up by street buskers and, as one exasperated Sydneysider puts it, “about 35,000 convenience stores where a loaf of bread costs three times what it should”.

New MidCity Centre on Pitt Street Mall, opposite Westfield’s.

Ten years ago, Westfield started acquiring property, eventually buying Sydney Tower (Centrepoint), Skygarden, the Imperial Arcade and Sydney Central Plaza (although it could never get 182 Pitt Street and had to build its mall facade around the lone rebel). More than a billion dollars have gone into the resulting Westfield Sydney and retailers, even those in rival arcades, are saying – with visible relief, given how bleak retail spending figures are – that now, with each month, they are seeing more people coming back to the city.

Says Mark Browne, Christian Dior general manager for Oceania and Micronesia: “Westfield will rejuvenate and renew interest in the city.” But are the new visitors buying? And once they’ve had their gawk, are they coming back? If they do, who is going to lose out?

When Westfield opened its megacentre in Bondi Junction in 2004, it vacuumed up shoppers from all over the eastern suburbs, leaving Paddington and Double Bay reeling. And that was before the global financial crisis and our worries about debt, interest rates and  rising living costs. Not to mention that, if we choose to spend, we can now be seduced by online retailing, ranging from the likes of to promises of cheaper deals. In the city alone, there’s now 40,000 square metres of Westfield retail space, along with the QVB, Strand, MidCity, Myer and David Jones, to say nothing of George Street. King, Pitt, Castlereagh and all the shopping crannies in between, competing for whatever Sydneysiders are prepared to surrender from their tightly held wallets. As the Americans say, you do the math.

“Retailers around the area are doing it tough because of the economic climate,” says one insider. “In hard times, retail is always the first to suffer.” But anyone who works in fashion and retail knows the importance of putting on the best show. Robert Jordan, Westfield managing director for Australia and New Zealand, says that while there has been no qualitative research done yet on shopping numbers at Westfield Sydney, -anecdotally, centre management is saying that they’re getting a lot of people coming in from the outer suburbs. And we’re getting a lot more tourist traffic, so that’s quite pleasing.” 

“My hope is that Sydney’s CBD retail precinct becomes a world-class shopping destination on a par with the world’s best such as Oxford Street, London, Rodeo Drive in LA … “ Paul Zahra. CEO David Jones 

According to David Jones CEO Paul Zahra, Sydney “used to be a ghost town on weekends; now families are coming through. We’re not concerned about Zara opening; it all brings fool traffic. We have five direct access points through bridges and tunnels to the Westfield centre and this has definitely resulted in more people entering our stores.” Myer spokeswoman Jo Lynch agrees on the effect.

So does every other city retailer I interview. It seems confounding after what happened with Westfield Bondi Junction. Even now, seven years later, the word “Westfield” makes Double Bay people defensive. In one website, a proud – if anonymous – cafe habitue reflects on bad things to do with a big cake if they ever run into Westfield boss Frank Lowy. Today, while Double Bay and Paddington are getting to their feet again, there is still, according to the latest MarketView report from real estate corporation CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), a 10 per cent vacancy rate in both strips. But explains one sales assistant from the Strand Arcade, there’s a crucial difference. “Westfield in Bondi Junction is like a cocoon. It’s an enclave and you don’t want to come out. You can spend all day there. The city is different.”

The super-prime real estate for retail in Sydney’s CBD is Pitt Street Mall, which CBRE’s last global retail rents report says is the second-most-expensive street in the world after Fifth Avenue in New York. A 2010 report from global real estate company Cushman & Wakefield places the mall ninth in the top 10, behind Fifth Avenue, London’s New Bond Street and Paris’s Champs-Elysees. That’s still illustrious company for a stretch that features a chemist, lunching office workers and the occasional busking clown.  “Maybe the reason rents are so expensive is that Fifth Avenue’s shopping area is 11 blocks and Pitt Street Mall is just one,” says CBRE’s Joshua Loudoun, regional director for the Pacific.

“In Brisbane, the Queen Street Mall is three to four times as long and Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall is double the length, plus Melbourne has Little Collins Street and Flinders Lane and all the laneways.” Loudoun argues that the mall section of Pill Street should be extended to Martin Place – “and that would certainly help Martin Place”. It might also help Sydney achieve its aim – expressed by Robert Jordan and Lord Mayor Clover Moore – of becoming an international shopping destination.

It’s still not even a Sydney shopping destination for some. When a friend’s wife dropped him at his city workplace recently, he asked if she was going to do any shopping. “No,” she replied. I can visit these shops back in Chatswood.

It’s true that with the opening of Zara and Miu Miu, those stores will be exclusive in NSW to Westfield Sydney but will it be enough? If I can duck in and out of Willow, Zimmermann, Scanlan & Theodore, Marnie Skillings and Morrison at The Intersection, the shopping precinct pioneered by businessman Theo Onisforou at the junction of Glenmore Road and Oxford Street in Paddington, do I want to do the trek and see the same shops and labels in the city department stores and arcades? “And go up three escalators and do two left turns,” mutters Onisforou.

“The danger for Sydney,” according to one retail expert, -is that it’s going to become the first homogenised city in the world. The rents are so high that the only people who can afford them are the corporates. Nobody wants to admit it, though .” Many criticise Sydney for not offering the variety that is seen in Melbourne’s CBD, where a city council drive over more than 20 years has resulted in tiny, unique businesses thriving near the big name stores in lanes and small streets. A few years ago, the, City of Sydney council started a laneways project, too, but unlike Melbourne with its 259 laneways and neat grid, Sydney only has 55 laneways, many unusable.

The council is now promoting The Fine Grain – a project that aims, by offering grants and capitalising on under-used city spaces, to give the city a mix of “unique and interesting businesses-, from small bars and cafes to galleries and spaces for new entrants into retail. So far, 40 small bars and 20 new laneway businesses, on top of an existing 30, have started since August 2008.

One such bar, Grasshopper in Temperance Lane off George Street, was named best small bar in last year’s Australian Bar Awards. Just opened is the Shirt Bar in Sussex Lane, where men can buy a shirt and anyone can have a glass of champagne. “You have to start somewhere,” says council business adviser Richard Roberts, who is working on the project with consultant architect Craig Allchin of Six Degrees Architects.

There’s a point where all this reaches a critical mass.  Westfield knows exactly how important mix is. Inevitably, deals are worked out according to desirability of tenant, size of shop and how much foot traffic they will generate. Retailers who are signed up first or last tend to get the best deals,” claims one retailer, adding a little glumly, “We were in the middle.” Western Australian label Morrison has not previously opened in Westfield. Richard Poulson – recently valued with his wife and fellow owner Kylie Radford by SRW at $42 million – says Westfield enticed them with a combination of rent reduction and cash incentives (such as assistance with fit-out) .

The lunch-time queue outside Zara’s.

Zara‘s fit-out has been almost entirely paid for by Westfield, claims one in the know. On the other hand, the retailer will also pay a lot of rent for its three floors and 1800 square metres. (Robert Jordan can’t discuss individual deals but simply says: ‘We did a very commercial deal with Zara; good for both of us.”)

Once in, Westfield tenants – as in other shopping centres – must report monthly turn over, something many don’t like doing. Occasionally it can affect rents but the real problem is that if a tenant’s turnover is low, or not up to par, Westfield will be concerned that maybe they shouldn’t be in the complex at all. Milton Cockburn, executive director of the Shopping Centre Council of Australia, estimates it usually takes a shopping centre two to three years to get the tenancies exactly right “and Westfield is very good at making their centres work. The pressure to get it right – on both Westfield and tenants – must be immense. In an effort to keep people in the city at night 

and moving into the restaurants and bars that will soon fill the fifth and sixth levels, the tenants have long hours. They must stay open until 6.30pm, 9pm on Thursdays and 6pm on Sundays. They have to open at 9am on Sunday, too, even though the designer shops on level four say they often don’t spot customers until 11 am or even 11.30. When I hear one retail manager is trying to organise a petition so the designer shops can keep shorter, boutique-style hours, I can’t help flinching on his behalf. Later, I learn that the petition idea lasted all of a week before getting the kibosh from Westfield.

“The next question is, what’s going to happen when Barangaroo opens? Westpac, American Express and Macquarie have already moved up to the north-west area of the CBD. Office workers will be a long way from Pitt Street Mall.” Joshua Loudoun. Pacific regional director. CB Richard Ellis. 

There are other grumbles, too: that while Westfield has profited from opening in stages, the first-stage shops have suffered because the centre feels unfinished. In certain stretches, it has been possible to see the same assistants brightly rearranging the hangers, day after day.

One manager complains of jackhammering at 11.30am on a Saturday. Others report customers staggering in, as confused as trapped birds, as they try to find a particular store or exit. (Westfield is notorious for creating centres where it’s easy to get in but tricky to depart.) A rival developer hates the low ceilings. “It’s like a passageway to a railway station,” he claims. “They were being greedy, trying to get in more levels.” But most are applauding Westfield for its investment and for providing a city hub. “Sydney was overdue to have a first-class shopping development,” says Louis Vuitton’s Oceania head, Phililip Corne, approvingly.

Another initiative that is getting ticks is Westfield’s offer to help young, upcoming designers with an open-plan space on the lower ground floor called 100 Squared that apes the grungy style Paddington or Balmain markets – perhaps too much so, given the sparkle of the floors above. Robert Jordan insists he’s very pleased with the floor and says a couple of designers are doing so well, they’re asking about store space. Can they afford it? “There’s a different range of shops you can get” says Jordan. “It’s actually shown them – and shown us – that there are all those young designers who can do the trade and can go into full shops.” For all the gung-ho cheer, times are tough for Australian retail. Frugal is the new black, claimed Margie Osmond of the Australian National Retailers Association back in late January.

In March, after a profit warning, Myer CEO Bernie Brookes announced a five per cent drop in profits for the first half of the financial year. A week laler, David Jones’s Paul Zahra reported a five per cent rise but he was still subdued. Like Brookes, he blamed natural disasters, adverse weather, higher utility prices and unnerved consumers. Ten years ago, we were so uninterested in putting aside some money for a rainy day, we had “negative saving”, as The Sydney Morning Herald’s economics editor, Ross Gittins, has put it. Now Australians are saving about eight to 10 per cent of their income.  Sixty-live per cent are paying their credit card in full each month, says Gittins. 

Oddly, says senior retail analyst Craig Woolford of Citi Investment Research, the women’s clothing market has been softer than the men’s. “That’s unusual because men are more functional and will just stop their spending whereas women will be attracted by what’s on offer. He blames fashion direction, saying: “It hasn’t been clear enough, so women can get away with items from last year.” Others, like Zahra, dispute that but in any case, Woolford is predicting retail spending to improve to six per cent growth later in 2011. We think that households have reached their savings level.

In spite of the steadily growing city crowds though, I’m not spying many shiny shopping bags. Says a manager of one Westfield store: -We might be seeing more people but not many of them are flashing their cards.” Cruelly, our straitened times are playing out like Russian roulette. -One clay we’ll have a really great day and then the next day, it’s … oh!” says Sam Wagner of Sambag, who has moved into Westfield and will leave her shop in the Strand Arcade when the lease runs out.

“Employment is up but people seem to be all over the place with their spending.” Luxury brands are reporting growth but anecdotal evidence is that it’s the mid-level brands like Country Road that are doing it hard. Retailers Colorado – Diana Ferrari, JAG – has just gone bust.

And while Ipoh, which owns QVB, Strand Arcade and The Galeries, says it has 100 per cent occupancy rate and is confident its arcades are targeting different markets from Westfield, over half of King Street is available for sublease or will be in the next year”, says Loudoun. 

Confusing everything are the constant sales. In a Review store in Westfield, I find a gathered ’50s-style skirt in a heavy cotton. It’s pretty but it’s $229.95. A lew days later, I spot the skirt marked down 30 per cent in a store promotion. I almost buy it but can’t decide between two sizes. A week after that, it’s back to $229.95, Except it isn’t. A discount gives customers $50 off any purchase over $150. In a fortnight, the skirt’s price has been $229.95, $160.97 and $179.95. How much is it really worth?

Sydneysiders now wait for sales. In good times, says Zahra, “we see the same trend of people buying for fashionability rather than price. But in shakier times, it’s catch-22. People don’t buy; the stores are forced to have sales; people buy but the decision to wait for a sale is reinforced. It’s heartbreaking , says Clare Press of Mrs Press in Paddington, which offers a select range of womenswear. “You make something beautiful and then stores near you are’ putting everything on sale … Then it’s panic mode:  We also travel more – and go online more. “Why should Australian consumers pay $400 for a pair of Nudie Jeans when they can get them for $180 overseas?” storms “Bleeding Heart on the website

I can’t resist checking to see what I might have paid for a silk and cashmere sweater if I’d bought it online from an overseas retailer. Gulp. Apparently, $100 less than I paid for Little Joe’s version in Westfield Sydney. On the other hand, I only bought the sweater on impulse because it felt so soft and I could try it on, surrounded by helpful assistants. Maintains Zahra: – Retail remains a tactile, sensory and social experience.

Dior’s Mark Browne muses on a recent experience in the glassy Apple shop on George Street. – I was there on a weekend and it was full of people. I was told by a staffer it was the third-largest Apple store in the world and there were plenty of passionate sales and support staff assisting customers. It was such a pleasure to be in that environment.” No one is disputing that the city is busier, at least with window-shoppers, since Westfield opened and retailers know they have one thing over online: real life.

Publisher Victoria Maxey, whose Urban Walkabout shopping guides map Sydney’s key retail areas, argues: “We’ve now got the first digital generation that breathes technology … it’s so easy to find standard products. They want something different. unique, personal. Real life experiences are rare to them.” Westfield, with its $1.2-billion investment and watchful shareholders, must be hoping fervently that’s so. It’s not the only one.

Source- Shelley Gare, SMH, May 2011.

Central Park – Sydney's new $2 billion urban village

26 Mar

Central Park is set to become an icon of 21st Century living, helping Sydney stake a claim as one of the world’s great urban destinations. Spectacularly located at the edge of the CBD, Central Park is a $2 billion village with a beautiful, spacious park at its heart.

With 11 buildings, 1,600 apartments and a lively collection of shops, cafes, restaurants, laneways, terraces and offices, Central Park transforms the old Kent Brewery in Chippendale into an intelligent interplay of buildings and public spaces, and raises the benchmark for sustainable living globally.

As Australian artist Lloyd Rees once said, “A city is the greatest work of art possible”. This has never been truer than at Central Park, which enlarges our sense of what’s possible – now and in the future.


Great architecture isn’t created in a silo. Great architecture is collaborative. So when Frasers Property acquired the Carlton United Breweries site from Foster’s in 2007, it invited a ‘dream team’ of world-leading architects to create a vision that would match its vast potential.

The design brief for each architect was simply to create iconic architecture of the highest sustainable standards, with people at their heart. This brief was spearheaded by Dr Stanley Quek, CEO at Frasers Property, who felt it was important to devote one-third of the 5.8 hectare site to public, open spaces.

The masterplan therefore revolves around a spacious urban park, which covers 6,400 square meters in size. This, together with an intricate web of roads and pathways, draws people into the heart of Central Park and delivers its character and soul. It also returns the old Kent Brewery to the people of Sydney after 150 years of exclusion.

Sustainable design features include solar panels, rooftop gardens, tri-generation pipes and water tanks, which are cleverly adapted into each corner of the site.

“To have the voice of the engineer, community and architect working together to create one vision – this is the way contemporary architecture is made,” says Alex Tzannes, Director of Tzannes Associates, who played a key role in shaping the original masterplan.

“The masterplan is the unifying element that dictates the overall design, resulting in buildings that are memorable and distinctive, and enjoy a more special relationship with the people who inhabit them,” says Tzannes.

The masterplan has been through several incarnations, and is now being implemented by UK architects Foster + Partners. Even the slope of the site has been carefully considered, with buildings declining in height from the city towards residential Chippendale.


The very first stage of Central Park will set the scene for what is to come: two iconic residential towers rising above a retail centre, connected by terraced gardens to the main park beyond. World-class architecture, richly veiled in living green walls, this first residential stage will encapsulate all that Central Park has to offer: bold, beautiful and globally significant new directions for 21st century living.

Designed by award-winning architect Jean Nouvel, Central Park’s first residential buildings remind us that nature can thrive in the city. Its façade is the canvas for a breathtaking ‘vertical garden’ by French artist Patrick Blanc, which delivers a flower to each resident, and a bouquet to the city.

This first residential stage will be released in Winter 2010, with future stages – by Johnson Pilton Walker and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, amoung others – to come. To register your interest and ensure you are amoung the first to view Central Park,


Award-winning London architects Foster + Partners are the designers behind Central Park’s first iconic commercial building, which will be released for sale soon. Offering 90,000 square metres of prime office and retail space in Sydney’s newest urban quarter, Foster + Partners’ commercial building is conveniently on the southern cusp of the CBD.


Eat, drink, shop, explore and play… Central Park is a mixed-used precinct that delivers an eclectic collection of shops, fashion boutiques, galleries, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, fitness clubs and wine bars.

Central Park will soon unveil its dynamic retail precinct, which includes a five-story shopping mall at One Central Park; a laneway devoted to shops, markets, cafes and bars on historic Kensington Street; and a vast retail venue inside the old Kent Brewery building.


Within Central Park, on Kensington Street, Sydney architects Tonkin Zulaikher Greer have created a new destination for cafes, galleries, weekend markets and organic food co-operatives. Central Park’s spacious green parks and gardens also provide a tranquil haven for the entire city to enjoy.

Colliers unveils Central Park shopping centre with a twist
09 Mar 2011…e-with-a-twist

Frasers Property Australia and Colliers International have launched “Central”, the first retail offering at the $2 billion Central Park development in downtown Sydney.

Central comprises 16,000sqm of retail over five levels, situated within the podium of the One Central Park residential towers on Broadway, with towers designed by globally-acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel and retail spaces conceptualised by The Buchan Group.

The new development will aim to provide shoppers with a blend of gourmet groceries and streetwise fashion, along with future-focused electronics retail, entertainment and dining, and urban wellbeing. However, according to Colliers International national director of retail, Nathan Clark, the precinct will veer away from the conventional large shopping centre format, and instead target the youth market and aim to fill a perceived niche.

“Central will have a youth focus, be fashion-forward and offer 18-hour trading and Sydney’s southern CBD does not have a retail offering of this calibre despite demonstrable demand,” he said.

“Central’s contemporary design, feature elements, interactive interiors and retail outlets will ensure a stand-out precinct that will really contribute to the urban village of Central Park.”

Clark has also seen significant interest from national retailers keen to cash in on the new development.

“Major Australian retailers are attracted to developers like Frasers who are providing shopping and entertainment destinations that increase foot traffic,” he said.

“[Because] these highly directional retail environments allow retailers to develop innovation within their brands, increase existing customer bases and push up moving annual turnovers.”

Central is expected to officially open to shoppers in April 2013.


Sydney’s Central Park development under construction…-construction/

A NEW development for central Sydney will bring a much needed international flavour to the southern CBD reminiscent of global cities such as Tokyo and New York.

Made up of 16,000 m2 of retail space over five levels, the development will sit within the podium of the Jean Nouvel designed One Central Park residential towers on Broadway and will be youth focused, at the fashion forefront and offer eighteen hour trading.

The lower ground level will be home to a major supermarket and specialty fresh food. The ground and first floors will have the latest local and international fashion outlets as well as technology stores. Above this will be two stories offering a mix of global cuisine while on the top level there will be a health and fitness facility.

Contemporary design and character-filled retail outlets will ensure the development contributes to the urban village style of Central Park when the complex opens in April 2013.


Now you can shop without a trolley…-1226018668905

IT will have karaoke bars, a swimming pool, market grocers – and not a shopping trolley or a carpark in sight.

This is the future of Sydney shopping centres.

A new five-storey shopping centre will be built by 2013 at the old Carlton United Brewery site on Broadway, with developers yesterday revealing every retailer, design and fit-out would be aimed at the youth market.

Mumsy mid-range designers will be ditched for cutting-edge fashions rising from Tokyo and New York.

Hardware stores and banks will be sacrificed for technology and electronics retailers and the fit-out will be anything but beige, with a graffiti wall instead.

Colliers International director of retail Hilton Hedley believed the centre would be a world-first, catering to the demands of downtown Sydney. “It’s an 18 to 35-year-old’s dream,” he said.

It will offer 20-hour trading, seven days a week, staying open from 7am to 3am and boasting restaurant dining, cocktails and even karaoke bars in its entertainment wing.

The whole fourth level will be an “Urban Wellbeing” health club, with a day spa, saunas and a 25m outdoor heated swimming pool on the fifth floor.

The centre, part of the $2 billion Central Park development, will be based on Singapore’s ultra-modern shopping centres.

Mr Hedley said the lower ground floor would feature a major supermarket and a fresh food market grocer, butcher and a baker to service the 8000 residents in the development’s apartments.

But there will be no fast-food court, rather about 20 Asian-inspired kiosks cooking fresh late into the night.

“There are 105,000 students at its doorstep,” Mr Hedley said. “They are smart and tech savvy. We want it to be lively and reflect that.”

Westfield Sydney is Open- Sydney's CBD puts on the glitz

28 Oct

Paul Tatnell  October 28, 2010
It cost $1.2 billion to build, caused traffic chaos and only half of the shops are trading, but Westfield opened its glitzy new superstore in Sydney’s CBD today.

The Pitt Street complex is still being finished, but more than 100 shoppers were lining up this morning to get a first look.

Before long, thousands more walked through the doors.

The seven-storey complex includes a number of high-end fashion and dining options.

Clover Moore (in wheelchair!!) and Steven Lowy at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Clover made reference to the contentious bridges, and referred to Westfield “having its way” with the city council.

Most businesses this morning were putting the final touches to their stores.

But the European fashion shop that appeared to be causing the most shopper interest, Zara, remained closed.

Westfield chief executive Steven Lowy said the complex was opening six months ahead of schedule, with the company keen to catch the Christmas market.

He believed Westfield would complement rival stores David Jones and Myer.

Shopper reaction was mostly positive following the opening.

Jane, from Newcastle, said the layout and design were impressive.

“I like it, it looks very beautiful and has lots of new [shop] ideas,” she said.

“I like the number of different shops too, and [swimwear shop] Tigerlily was great.”

Waterloo resident Helen agreed the centre was exciting, but was eagerly awaiting the opening of Zara.

“I like the lounge area, and I’m really looking forward to Zara too,” she said.

Nick, a Surry Hills resident and city worker, said the new complex “was almost too glitzy”.

“We were just saying it appeared to be a bit bright, a bit too glitzy, but there is an impressive range of shops of good calibre,” he said.

“But, yeah, it was probably needed, everything was looking a bit tired.”

Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore welcomed the investment in the city, calling the complex “beautiful”.

Westfield Sydney- Don't panic, boys, but we're due to open in three days

25 Oct

Tim Barlass SMH October 24, 2010

‘‘All under control’’ … workers at the Westfield City site during the week. Westfield Australia managing director Robert Jordan says the centre is on target to open on Thursday.

Photo: Anthony Johnson

A 1000-STRONG army of tradespeople is working around the clock to complete the $1.2 billion Westfield Sydney complex in Pitt Street.

The retail heart of Sydney is due to emerge from its cocoon of scaffolding and dust, after two years of construction, at 9.30am on Thursday.

But last week, when The Sun-Herald photographed the site, not one of the 130 shops had a name on its frontage, any stock or even shelves to put it on.

Westfield Australia managing director Robert Jordan seemed relaxed about the timetable.

”I am sleeping just fine,” he said.

”I have seen the progress over the last few weeks and it is all under control. Trust me.”

The site has thrown up some challenges. Construction has gone on under the watchful eyes of Myer and David Jones on either side, without compromising the stability of the 50-metre Sydney Tower rising above the site.

But it’s no ordinary shopping centre. In June, it was rated the ninth most expensive retail space in the world, up there with Fifth Avenue and the Champs-Elysees. The retail strip, which is expecting a huge boost in the number of shoppers once Westfield opens, commands an average rent of $6000 a square metre a year. The 130 retailers in stage one of the opening include Gucci, Hugo Boss, Stuart Weitzman and some brands that are new in Sydney: Gap, Mulberry and DKNY Jeans.

Shoppers will be encouraged to dine, with outlets such as the gourmet burger shop Charlie & Co, to be opened by Becasse chef Justin North. Jason McVicar, general manager of stores operations at David Jones, which has five pedestrian links to Westfield, said the complex would help make the CBD an international destination.

”Some great international retailers will offer another part to the mix for the people of Sydney.”


Westfield Sydney announces opening

20 Aug

Westfield will open the first stage of the $1.2 billion Westfield Sydney development in late October. 

More than 100 fashion and food specialty stores will open for trade by Christmas, at what will be a world class retail and commercial precinct. A second stage opening is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011, with the centre due for completion in 2012 with the construction of a 27-storey office tower that will be home to JP Morgan’s Australian headquarters.

The development is located at Pitt St Mall, Castlereagh and Market Sts, and connects to the highest grossing department stores in Australia – David Jones and Myer. On completion in 2012 the new development will comprise more than 250 fashion, food and lifestyle stores across 40,000sqm and seven levels. It will be complemented by Sydney Central Plaza’s 80 stores over 53,000sqm.

Westfield Sydney will offer shoppers a series of distinct precincts, including luxury, urban, Australian and international designers, and Australian high street shopping.

Westfield Group MD Australia and New Zealand Robert Jordan said Westfield Sydney will become the benchmark for downtown shopping malls in Australia.

“We’re developing a global centre that will offer the very best in retail, design, and services and we believe the centre will position Sydney as an international shopping destination,” Jordan said.

Stores to open in stage one in October include Gucci, Hugo Boss and Stuart Weitzman, new-to-market brands GAP, Mulberry, and DKNY Jeans, together with Australian retailers including Cue, Sportsgirl, Wanted Shoes, Zimmerman and Carla Zampatti. Westfield Sydney will also launch 100 Squared, a fashion incubator concept allowing clusters of young designers to have a pop-up retail space on level one.

Openings in 2011 will see the unveiling of further high street and designer stores including Prada, Miu Miu and the recently announced Zara, opening its first store in Australia. The full food offering includes fine dining restaurants on level six, a high-end restaurant-style food precinct, and due for completion in 2012, an outdoor bar.

Westfield has engaged internationally renowned Tokyo-based interior design company Wonderwall for the Westfield Sydney development. Previous Wonderwall projects include the Collette store in Paris and Uniqlo stores worldwide. The external building’s design and commercial tower has been undertaken by Melbourne firm John Wardle Architects, following an international design competition.

The completed precinct encompasses six elements totaling 171,000sqm of gross lettable area that together will create a world-class retail, tourism and office location in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, expected to be valued at approximately $3 billion.

by Inside Retailing Online on August 18, 2010


Retail goes upmarket in CBD

21 Jul

June 14, 2010

The revamped Pitt Street Mall soon will be home to many high-end retailers, writes Carolyn Cummins.

The facade at the corner of Market and Pitt Street. To be ready for the October 2010 mall opening (pic- JWA)

It is being played like a game of musical chairs but by the time the work is finished, Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall and the surrounding streets will be a who’s who of retailers. And rents will rise accordingly. Once the new stores open, rents are tipped to double from their present levels of about $8000 a square metre.

But the list of occupants is unlikely to boast overseas fashion names such as Zara and H&M, which prefer their own stand-alone flagship stores as opposed to being in an enclosed shopping mall.

Zara, whose head office is in Spain, is said to be using Solomon Lew as its co-agent in Australia and is looking at a number of sites in the CBD. So far it has not signed any leasing deals in Australia.

However, shoppers who like the US chain Gap will be pleased to hear that it has signed for an 800-square-metre shop within the new Westfield Sydney.

The same scene in July 2010. Showing the pedestrian bridge that has just been demolished.

BusinessDay has seen a list of the new retailers to have signed up for the centre and it includes the majority of tenants which used to be in Centrepoint and the Imperial Arcade.

The new Skygardens Castlereagh Street elevation (pic- JWA).

Interior of the 85 Castlereagh Street tower lobby, looking up. To be ready for the February 2012 opening (pic- JWA).

The 85C skylobby at retail level 7 (pic- JWA).

A Coach store selling upmarket bags and some apparel will open on the corner of Pitt and Market streets.

Nespresso, Tag Heuer watches and Guess will open on the ground level of Pitt Street Mall.

At 182 Pitt Street is the former Emporio shoes site in the building which the Goddard family, declined to sell to Westfield. That site will be redeveloped next year.

The 85C tower on the skyline (pic- JWA).

Next door, within the Westfield complex, will be Esprit, Cue and Sportsgirl.

Westfield’s leasing team has created an upmarket strip on Castlereagh Street, opposite David Jones, having secured Prada, Gucci and Zegna.

On Market Street, with both David Jones stores nearby, will be a Mui Mui store.

On the upper levels of Westfield there will be a Thomas Dux supermarket, run by Woolworths to take on the David Jones food hall.

Discussions are also under way for a signature chef, such as Gordon Ramsay, to open a restaurant.

The stockbroker JPMorgan and Westfield staff will move into the planned skyscraper at 85 Castlereagh Street, atop the former Imperial Arcade.

Former tenants in that arcade, including Borders book store, are returning. JB Hi-Fi is looking to open a new ”wi-fi” concept store.

One of the favourites of city workers, the Sky Phoenix Chinese restaurant, has also re-signed in the redevelopment.

Christian Dior is rumoured to be taking the Louis Vuitton site on the corner of Castlereagh and King streets, while Bottega Veneta, Christian Louboutin and Mulberry are looking for prime sites.

Knight Frank’s associate director of retail leasing, Alex Alamsyah, said an influx of high-profile international retailers was inevitable and could transform the CBD.

”The level of refurbishment and redevelopment activity currently in progress is opening up many opportunities for big fashion brands and will help put Sydney on the map as an international retail destination,” Mr Alamsyah said.

“Whether it be through the granting of licensing or franchising arrangements, as is the case with Gap and Victoria’s Secret, for example, or alternatively the rollout of corporate-owned stores such as Esprit and Louis Vuitton, it is clear that Sydney CBD is a global hotspot for the upper echelon of major international fashion brands.

“And the current wave of new projects means these brands have the opportunity to make their play.”

While retail landlords and shoppers alike would love to see more overseas retailers there are a few hurdles that need to be overcome before some of the international fashion retailers – such as Forever 21, Uniqlo and Abercrombie & Fitch – can enter the domestic market.

But these stores are said to be keen to establish a presence.

Mr Alamsyah said that for the past decade Sydney had been on the radar of numerous big fashion brands, yet certain barriers had prevented them from setting up shop.

“First, our seasons differ from the northern hemisphere, which affects fashion retailers significantly. Second, our location generally incurs higher shipping costs from major distribution points and there are comparatively high import duties on clothing and shoes, and finally, wages and rentals are higher in Australia, making it harder to launch a new brand here in comparison,” he said.

Josh Loudoun, CB Richard Ellis’s regional director of retail services for Australia and New Zealand, said the concerns for the international brands were that they wanted space of up to 2000 square metres as a standalone flagship, such as the Apple store in the city.

A section through the retail and 85C tower (pic- Culwulla).

”There are affordability issues as Australian retail landlords charge very high occupancy costs which, when combined with high wages, import taxes and currency movements, the return in investments for these groups sometimes does not stack up,” Mr Loudoun said. But he said despite the hurdles, many were in talks about opening here.

Opposite the Westfield centre there are other moves afoot, with the jeweller Angus & Coote taking Witchery’s former space in Sydney Central Plaza.

Hype DC has signed a new lease at Mid City facing George Street and also at 239 Pitt Street. General Pants has a new lease at Mid City and wants to leave Glasshouse; Strandbags has renewed its lease at the Strand Arcade; and Jurlique’s space at the Strand is available for lease as it has moved to Mid City facing George Street.

Additionally, restaurants including Golden Century and Kam Fook Yum Cha are taking leases at Star City casino and Sydney Airport respectively, while the first Godiva and Victoria’s Secret stores have opened at Sydney’s international terminal.

Images- Copyright JWA Architects