Pacific Werribee Reveals Ongoing Structural Repairs and Renovations Following Safety Inspection
Pacific Werribee, a popular shopping centre in Hoppers Crossing that underwent a $400 million makeover in 2014, is currently facing challenges due to ongoing major repair works. Some small businesses operating within the centre say they have been hit hard by reduced foot traffic and increasing costs, compounded by the closure of major stores like Target.
Foot Traffic Decline and Rising Costs Affect Businesses
According to small business at the centre, the ongoing repair works have led to a significant decline in foot traffic, affecting the revenue of small businesses at Pacific Werribee. One store owner said, initially, there was a 20% reduction in customer numbers due to the disruptions caused by the works. However, as the renovations continue, the decline has worsened, with a substantial 40% drop in footfall.
What Exactly is Being Repaired? Pacific Werribee's Response
Pacific Werribee’s management has been tight-lipped in the past about the reasons behind the ongoing renovation works, leaving businesses and the public in the dark about the nature and extent of the repairs.
In response to the growing concerns, Wyndham TV was able to obtain an updated statement from Pacific Werribee General Manager Ryan Ling, shedding some light on the renovation works:
“As part of our responsible safety management practices at Pacific Werribee, we engage specialist consultants and engineers to undertake regular inspections of the centre. During these inspections, specialists identified the need to reinforce some of the joints within the most recently redeveloped part of the centre.”
“We commenced works to permanently reinforce these sections of the centre earlier this year. The works include the installation of additional structural bracing, upgrades to services fixings, installation of additional waterproofing, repair and replacement of mall tiles, and changes to tenancy and car park layouts as well as signage and way-finding. These works are continuing in a staged manner to minimize impacts to our community and are expected to be substantially completed by the end of next year.”
“Importantly, our specialist engineers have confirmed the centre is and always has been safe for occupation and operation, and the wellbeing of all those who visit and work at Pacific Werribee is our overriding priority.”
Uncertain Future for Tenants
The closure of larger stores like Target during the renovation works has had a domino effect on other businesses. Several tenants, especially those reliant on destination stores to attract customers, have reported a decline in sales and foot traffic.
One store owner told Wyndham TV that despite repeated requests for support from affected businesses, the management at Pacific Werribee has not provided adequate assistance to mitigate the impact of the ongoing repair works.
Businesses with properties above or below the construction site, such as those with loading docks underneath, have been temporarily closed. These tenants have been informed that they may have to wait up to eight months before they can re-enter their premises, leaving them uncertain about their future.
Just recently, Nando’s, a well-known restaurant at Pacific Werribee, has permanently closed its doors, adding to the woes of businesses at the centre. Wyndham TV contacted Nando’s but did not receive a reply.
Casual Workers Left in Limbo
Amidst the ongoing repair works, the situation for casual workers remains uncertain. While Target claims to have reallocated permanent team members to other stores during the closure, the fate of casual workers remains unclear, as crucial information about their accommodations has not been provided.
History and Ownership of Pacific Werribee
After its $400 million makeover in 2014, Pacific Werribee became home to over 100 new retail tenancies, a multi-deck car park, cinemas, and specialty stores, attracting renowned international brands to the centre. The centre is currently 50% owned by the Queensland Investment Corporation, with Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Queensland Premier and Minister for the Olympics, among the shareholding ministers.
The Struggle of Small Businesses
As Pacific Werribee undergoes ongoing repair works, small businesses at the centre face various challenges, including reduced foot traffic, rising costs, and uncertainty about their future. The past lack of transparency from the centre’s management has only added to the distress of tenants, leaving some of them struggling to navigate through these difficult times.
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