Bennets Green development promises 600 jobs

Construction is poised to begin on a landmark 30,000sqm retail centre in Lake Macquarie promising to create more than 600 full-time jobs once complete.

Spotlight Group, which also owns Anaconda retail chains, got the green light last month from the NSW Government to commence work on the first stage of a $90 million centre fronting the Pacific Highway at Bennetts Green.

A Bunnings Warehouse, Spotlight and Anaconda stores will anchor the site, with a number of other businesses, including two fast food outlets and a service station, also included in the plans.

Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Cr Kay Fraser, said the centre, the largest retail development in the city since the 2010 expansion of Charlestown Square, would provide an enormous boost to the local economy.

“This is land that has long been earmarked for development,” Cr Fraser said.

“It’s wonderful to see the Spotlight Group backing the potential of Lake Macquarie and investing in a project that will generate local jobs for local families.”

“A development of this size has the potential to significantly boost employment in surrounding suburbs, including Windale,” Cr Fraser said.

“It will further activate the area and, by establishing itself as a retail destination, provide flow-on benefits to other businesses nearby.”

Spotlight Group Executive Deputy Chairman Zac Fried said the development would generate more than 825 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction and more than 600 full-time jobs once open.

Spotlight Group will improve footpaths and roads around parts of the site, with new traffic lights installed on the Pacific Highway, about 150m south of the Groves Road intersection.

The company has lodged development applications with the council for stages two and three. These are expected to be processed by the end of the year.

Council initially sold the site for $20.3 million in January, 2016, to Hydrox Nominees – a land-holding company for Masters Hardware.

Approval was granted in 2015 for a Masters outlet, bulky goods units and a restaurant, but with the retail chain’s demise, the land was sold to Spotlight Group.

The site is bounded by the Pacific Highway to the east, Lake Road to the north, South Street to the south and Michael Bird Oval to the west. The development will not impact on the existing playing fields.

Lake Macquarie City Council head of development and planning Justin Day said the new development was “an exciting time for Lake Macquarie, and specifically for this part of the city”.

“We’re already seeing booming residential development just up the road in Mount Hutton, as well as a $58 million makeover of the Lake Macquarie Fair shopping centre,” Mr Day said.

“This development comes on the back of a record $1.16 billion worth of development applications approved in the 2017-2018 financial year, and really demonstrates how Lake Mac is increasingly becoming the city of choice for investment and development.”

Of the $20.3 million sale price of the land in 2016, $5.58 million was transferred to the council’s property investment reserve.

The remaining $14.73 million went into Council’s Community Land Reserve, to be spent on community infrastructure.

Projects either planned or underway to receive funding through the land sale include:

·         Windale Skate Park relocation

·         Windale library and community centre construction

·         Scrubby Creek restoration (Windale)

·         Munibung Road extension

·         Pearson Street Mall upgrade (Charlestown)