Overseeing final touches at the Square yesterday are, left, Glen Thorpe (retail property manager), centre man- ager Geoff Gooch
Overseeing final touches at the Square yesterday are, left, Glen Thorpe (retail property manager), centre man- ager Geoff Gooch

Open? secrets on new Square shops

By NERIDA BLOK

DEVELOPER Jim McConaghy is remaining tight-lipped about what will be in the new Lismore Shopping Square.

On a visit to the site yesterday the former Lismore man, now based in Brisbane, refused to reveal the square's 35 specialty shops due to open on September 20.

"It's like the little present under the Christmas tree -? it's a little excitement," he said.

"The girls will love it. The focus is fashion and food. That's all I'll say."

However Mr McConaghy conceded the centre extensions would include Big W, Woolworths, and a 450-seat food court.

He said the renovations, costing more than $40 million, were almost complete.

Once finished the Lismore Square will be double its original size and boast parking for 1400 cars.

"This will be the best thing that's ever hit Lismore," he said.

"We'll make Lismore the real focus of the Northern Rivers."

With just under one month to go, Mr McConaghy said he was feeling good.

"I'm probably the most confident bloke in Lismore," he laughed.

"The people of Lismore, honestly, are just going to be blown away when they see what we're about to present.

"We've got the best retailers in Australia. Retailers never seen in regional Australia."

Getting the job done has meant employing around 180 tradesmen a day, many of whom were local, he said.

"We turn over $1.5 million a week in labour and material alone."

The biggest challenge he said was getting the project started.

"I went for nearly nine years getting it off the ground," he said. "I never give up. I bought this in 1997 with the view to expand, and I'm only doing this now."

He said another challenge had been co-ordinating existing retailers Kmart and Coles with new players, Woolworths and Big W.

"It's not easy geting these four majors into one centre," he said.

"But it's going to bring cheaper prices to Lismore. And when we can get petrol, this will reduce petrol also by four cents a litre."

It's not just Lismore Square retailers he believed would benefit. "If anyone is worth his salt, he'll do really well," he said.



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