Australia Fair to get $50m facelift as Southport CBD rivalry heats up

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A $50 million facelift for Australia Fair, one of the Gold Coast’s oldest and largest shopping centers, has been unveiled as competition for customers heats up in the Southport CBD. In addition to an exterior facelift and new entrances on Nerang Street and Marine Parade at Australia Fair, Brisbane-based private investor Gordon Fu has been granted development authority for the renovations.

Access from Broadwater Parklands to the center is now made easier with a new pedestrian entrance and lift at the Marine Parade entrance, which overlooks Southport Broadwater. Australia Fair’s center manager, Ramon Otten, said that many of the vacancies that drew complaints from locals earlier this year were part of the planned modifications to tenancies before the construction began.

Upgrades to the escalators, new amenities near Woolworths on the first floor, a new functional parents’ room, and an adult changing facility are all part of the budget. There will be an Asian supermarket of 600 square meters in the renovated dining area originally home to the famed Top One Chinese restaurant.

Australia Fair's $50m facelift as competition heats up

Planet Fitness has leased 1,900 square meters of space on the first level directly above the Nerang Street entrance. “We have been working on a number of these areas for some time,” according to Otten. “We want to deliver a better product to the people of Southport and play our part in the development of the CBD.” Otten said the center’s traffic, pedestrian count, and sales have all recovered to pre-COVID levels.

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“We recently experienced one of the best months to date with our retailers and cinema, and Australia Fair’s redevelopment will only build the momentum of the centre as a must-visit precinct to shop, dine and play on the Gold Coast.” An improvement to Australia Fair is the first after a minor investment in 2017, and the Metro renovation of the center’s western area was completed in 2015.

Just over a kilometer away, on the site of the defunct Gold Coast Hospital, is the $500 million Queen Street Village development, which will cost an additional $50 million. With a Dendy theatre as its centerpiece, the Buchan Group’s planned development also features a variety of other amenities such as retail and restaurants as well as living and daycare spaces.

The new investment in Southport has been welcomed by Otten, who is undeterred by the competition. Even though Southport’s economy is improving, “It’s great to see more investment in the wider Southport area, but we have a solid customer base that continues to support us.”

Australia Fair Shopping Centre and Australia Fair Metro - Thomson Adsett

Otten is sure that Australia Fair will receive additional investment in the future. “There will be other stages beyond this as we are always reassessing things.” While Australia Fair undergoes a multi-stage reconstruction, trading will continue as usual. The redevelopment is projected to be completed in early 2023.

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As Otten tells Business News Australia, “There’s a lot going on in the centre at the moment with a number of fit-outs under way.” “Over the next nine to 12 months people will see a lot of changes at Australia Fair.” As part of the renovation, a brand-new food court called Broadwater Lane will be built, as will a rooftop bar and café on the first level with views of Nerang Street.

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