Almost four years after it was destroyed by fire, a popular shopping mall at Umina is finally reopening, albeit a little at a time.
Now known as Lone Pine Plaza, the string of shops on Ocean Beach Rd was completely gutted on January 13, 2019.
Although plans were announced for a rebuild in October 2019, the project stalled, with the derelict buildings drawing the ire of community groups in 2020.
The bulldozers finally moved in in November 2020, with developer Craig Laundy confirming that an issue relating to the purchase of two adjacent laneways had been resolved and demolition would be concluded by Christmas (2020), with a 12-14 month construction phase planned.
But the project stalled yet again, with Peninsula residents left in the dark as to the reasons for the delay.
Saturday, December 2, finally saw the soft opening of major retailer IGA, with other outlets set to open gradually.
A spokesperson for Clearwater Leasing said Occupation Certificates had been received only last week, more than a year after anticipated, with Central Coast Council allowing no fit-outs until the certificates had been issued.
“It has been a journey, to say the least,” the spokesperson said.
“The other businesses will open as they complete their fit-outs.
“At this stage we anticipate Cookabrew café and Cellarbrations will open mid-December and Hearing Australia early in the New Year – followed by other tenancies.
“We will be working towards a ‘grand opening’ to introduce the businesses and centre to the local community in the New Year.
Peninsula Chamber President, Matthew Wales said it was wonderful to see IGA open its doors after years of delays in reopening the plaza.
“The new shopping centre fills an important gap in the retail sector and services a large residential population in the central Umina Beach area,” Wales said.
“Equally, the new IGA store will provide valuable competition in the supermarket space and provide much needed retail choice in the very competitive local food sector.
“Importantly, IGA employs 35 local people who all now have jobs on the Peninsula close to their families and local community.
“We look forward to other retail outlets opening their doors in Lone Pine Plaza in the coming months which will help secure the new shopping centre as part of the vibrant retail mix on the Peninsula.”