The closure of 11 of the 25 retail spaces in in the West Gosford Shopping Centre has sparked outrage and concern from residents who are fearful that their community hub will soon become an empty shell.
Well-known and long-standing local businesses have been exiting the once fully tenanted centre for years.
Henry Kendall Family Bistro and Tavern, West Gosford Optical and the Chinese restaurant were the first to go.
In the past year, the outflow of tenants has become torrential including the fish and chips shop, the Fruit Spot, West Gosford Bake House, a remedial massage business, the West Gosford Newsagents, dry cleaners, True Blue Quality Meats butcher shop, the hair dressers, chicken shop and café, the Commonwealth Bank and Bakers Delight.
The businesses remaining consist of Coles, Michele’s Patisserie, Chemsave, Australia Post, Super Dollar, J&P Noodle Bar, Duncan’s Barber, Free Choice Tobacco, Nick’s Pizza Pasta and Kebabs, 2ewes Boutique, Rajdhani Indian Restaurant and Vinnies.
The shopping centre was built in 1987 and is owned under a joint venture between ISPT property trust, which owns 75 per cent and Coles, who bought 25 per cent in 2012 for $28.5 million.
The emptying out of the centre has sparked fears of potential redevelopment on the site, which is B2 Local Centre zoned, as per the 2014 Gosford Local Environmental Plan, which allows mixed use development, but has no current development applications submitted with Central Coast Council.
A JLL centre management spokesperson said West Gosford Shopping Centre owners ISPT and Coles were exploring options to reconfigure the centre to enhance its offer and convenience for local shoppers, particularly after the upgrade and widening of Brisbane Water Dve.
Current tenants with expiring leases who wish to remain at the centre have been offered shorter-term leases, which centre management have said is due to a current “planning phase” and to offer “a level of flexibility.
“West Gosford is a great community and we are fortunate to have very loyal and long-standing customers.
“In determining the proposed mix of the centre, we will be guided by community research and feedback.
“A revitalised centre, anchored by a Coles supermarket, will provide an exciting new, convenient facility for the community and create local construction and trade employment during the building and fitting out of the Centre.
“We also believe it will boost retail employment locally.
“While tenants are encouraged to continue trading alongside Coles and Liquorland at the centre for as long as possible, some have found longer-term opportunities elsewhere and have elected to leave,” a JLL spokesperson said.
Mar 15, 2017
West Gosford Shopping Centre Management, JLL
Jarrod Melmeth, journalist