SNEAK PEEK: Take a tour of the old Masters site
IT MAY still look like an empty shell, but work was well underway to prepare the old Masters hardware store in South Lismore for its new life as a shopping centre.
For the last three works a team from Queensland construction company Tomkins has been busy transforming the massive building inside and out on behalf of the owner, Home Consortium.
When complete, the Home Consortium superstore will accommodate seven new retailers, some of whom have never had a presence in Lismore before.
And the new store could open as early as August.
Today The Northern Star was given an exclusive tour of the site by Tomkins.
Site manager Tyler Krinks said the company had already successfully refurbished two other Home Consortium sites in Queensland, in North Lakes and Tingalpa, which had since opened.
Walking through the site, Mr Krinks pointed out where walls had been installed, alongside electrical fittings and other important building components.
"Demolition is 95 per cent complete now," Mr Krinks said.
"We've demolished the old sandwich panel walls, what divided the old trade end in Masters and also the garden area in Masters."
The Lismore job will cost $2.6 million.
The old garden centre (at the northern end of the building) will be roofed in, its concrete floor polished, and become home to one of two major retailers who will be located at either end of the superstore.
A main corridor will run down the centre of the building connecting the two big stores at either end.
The original entrance to the Masters store will remain the front entry point, and intersect with the main corridor.
The seven retailers to set up shop in the building are being kept under wraps at this stage by Home Consortium, with Tomkins not privy to that information.
But Tomkins are moving full steam ahead and are expected to be finished up within three months.
"We're moving on now to shedding external walls and starting to divide it up into allocated tenancies, which is called the base build," Mr Krinks said.
"From there we do epoxy floor works, new roof infills, some structural steel, and then the tenants will come in and do their own shop fits.
"I've been here three weeks now and we've been working most weekends from 6am to 5pm each day."
The retailers are expected to fit out their individual stores within a month after they move in.
That would put a realistic opening time as early as the end of August.
"These are high priority jobs, Home Consortium are a very good client to work with, and obviously they are popping up all over Australia now."
Mr Krinks said Lismore was a "key location" for a Home Consortium store, noting this would be the first dedicated homemaker centre in the Lismore area.