THE first thing that impresses about the Mandurah Forum redevelopment is its absolute size.
It would have to be big too; upon completion, it will be the only shop in WA with a Big W, Kmart, Target and David Jones in the same building.
Project director James Fudge walked the Mandurah Coastal Times through the new development on Thursday. He said the Forum, which was built in 1985 and extended in 1995, was overdue for this redevelopment.
There will be plenty of parking before Christmas, with plans for the multi-deck car park to be open by then.
The roof space of the new Mandurah Forum is mostly parking, interrupted only by skylights that will provide natural light to the building. Elevators and travelators will provide access to the centre.
By mid-2017, stage two of the redevelopment (and David Jones) will be ready to open.
“We want it to be the best in the world contextual to the region,” Mr Fudge said.
“It was traditionally developed in stages because the previous owners had a short-term mindset.”
Mr Fudge is an expert at developing shopping centres; he’s been doing it since the ’90s. His version of Forum will have wider corridors, higher ceilings and flow-through shopping experience.
“The restaurants will suit Mandurah’s demographic,” he said. This means food options will be family friendly, with some upmarket options.
Mr Fudge said modern shopping centres had to be something people enjoyed and wanted to visit.
“It will be Mandurah’s heart and a real focal point for the region,” he said.
Mr Fudge admitted the redevelopment had caused “short term pain” for some businesses.
However, he said it would be for a long-term gain.
“It was strong commercially but not viable as a destination,” he said.
With 4 to 5 per cent of the Mandurah Forum’s profit coming from Bunbury, it was essential that the new shops became a destination.
In further good news for residents, a problem roundabout near KFC and Hungry Jacks has been removed.