Plans for new Lismore retail centre racing ahead
A DEVELOPMENT application to turn Lismore's vacant Masters building into a new shopping centre could be approved within weeks.
The application is considered "straight forward” by the council, because the building is practically new and needs only an internal fit out and new signage to meet its new function.
As such the proposal could be approved by the end of February.
The development has been hailed as having "definite benefits” for the city by Lismore City Council's economic development manager Mark Batten.
Mr Batten said the lack of a "big box” large format shopping centre in Lismore had been recognised for several years.
"We have a lot of (large format) franchisees who have been looking at coming to Lismore since I've been at council,” he said.
"To have those kind of retailers looking at that site is fantastic... I think it's a great repurposing.”
Among the retailers listed in the development application by Home Consortium group are JB Hifi, BCF, Forty Winks, Pet Stock, Repco, and Spotlight.
It's unclear whether Spotlight would retain it's current CBD lease on Woodlark St if it moves to the new store.
Mr Batten said the new shopping centre would "fill a void” in the Lismore shopping experience and bring more people to town, more often.
"We have a consumer public which is looking for more not less,” he said.
"We know that because of how they go about they're shopping patterns, (for example) taking trips to the Gold Coast.”
I think in having more opportunity in a shopping experience, we'll have more shoppers, and they will stay longer.
Mr Batten added that Lismore was a "multi-purpose” destination for many people who when they come to town want to do more than one thing.
From that he concluded that the more that is on offer in the town, the more reason people would have to come to town and support businesses right across the board.
He said it was a lucky break for the site, which could have ended up vacant.
"It's happened really quickly - no sooner had Masters made their intentions (to close) known we heard there were (new) intentions for that site - and to have such strong offering to come in is fantastic.”
The fit out of the new shopping centre is expected to start within months, and once opened, it will provide more than 100 new full-time equivalent retail positions.