Expansion for Waratah Village

VILLAGE GROWN: The Waratah shopping centre, pictured, is planning a major expansion, see map.WARATAH Village shopping centre has confirmed future growth plans, with its owners acquiring more than a dozen neighbouring homes to make way for an expanded retail centre.

The owners of the western Newcastle shopping centre, popular for its annual Christmas lights display and its 24-hour Kmart store, said though the expansion might be some time off, surrounding property was being acquired as it became available.

On the centre’s shopping list are 17 residential properties in Coolamin Road, Georgetown Road, Glenda Street, Tinonee Road and Turton Road. So far, 14 have been bought.

Centre owner Nekon Pty Ltd is now seeking to rezone the acquisitions from residential to commercial.

Centre manager Sheldon Hayden said the expansion plan had been in train for about six years, but it might take another three or four years to acquire all the properties it wanted and get the necessary approvals.

Mr Hayden said Waratah Village was a popular retail hub in the geographical centre of Newcastle and had good growth potential.

The company’s rezoning application has been lodged with Newcastle council and is on public exhibition until July 14.

Meanwhile, the retail village has become the first on mainland Australia to use power generated by on-site wind turbines.

Three turbines, each 14 metres high, were erected in the shopping centre’s car park in February. They were switched on last week and are now providing enough energy to power the centre’s car park lighting and common areas.

The wind turbines drew some concern from neighbouring residents when they were considered and approved back in 2011.

They are much smaller than the large Ausgrid turbine, which is about to be dismantled on Kooragang Island, and are considerably quieter.

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