New superstore: What's next for the Lismore Masters site?
THE old Masters store in South Lismore is set to be reopened as early as July next year as a super store featuring a who's who of major Australian retailers.
David Di Pilla, the architect of the $750 million deal to buy out the failed Masters sites by a consortium of private retailers, gave an exclusive interview to The Northern Star this week to discuss the future of the Lismore site.
He said the Lismore site was earmarked as one of the first sites for opening from the list of some 60 former Masters buildings, most of which are less than two years old.
A development application to retrofit the building at an estimated cost of $2.6 million has already been lodged with Lismore City Council.
"It will be one we'll be moving on very quickly," Mr Di Pilla said.
"We've had very strong interest in the site."
Mr Di Pilla said the retailers in discussion with the Home Consortium were major Australian chains "all of whom are looking to either increase the size of their presence in Lismore or looking to make an entry (to the city)".
"There's a clear need for a large format retail store in Lismore, and retailers are voting with their feet," he said.
It is not yet confirmed which shops will definitely be opening in Lismore, but it has been reported some of the possibilities include JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Amart Sports, Spotlight, Chemist Warehouse and adventure store Anaconda.
In good news for employment, the new store will also create an estimated 120 to 150 permanent jobs.
Most of the fit out of the new stores - due to take place once the development application is approved by the council - will also be handled by local businesses.
In August, the Home Consortium swooped in to purchase the 82 Masters sites from Woolworths - 61 of which already had virtually brand new buildings on them - for a reported $750 million.
About 20 of the sites, Lismore included, are planned to be opened by the middle of 2017.
A more detailed concept plan will be released towards the end of January.