We are now one step closer to getting the third-largest shopping centre in Australia.
The Hills deputy mayor Andrew Jefferies said the council unanimously supported an agreement, at a closed meeting last week, which has since been forwarded to the owners of Castle Towers, Queensland Investment Corporation, for consideration.
If they shake hands, QIC will be nearer its goal of increasing the Towers by 60,000 square metres, which would make it the biggest centre in NSW and third-largest in Australia.
Cr Jefferies said QIC would contribute towards the upgrade of Showground Road as part of stage 3 of the proposed development, but he was especially excited by the part of the agreement which gives council space in stage 3.
"Potentially it could be a community centre," he said.
QIC Global Real Estate managing director, Steven Leigh, confirmed QIC was in discussions with the council.
"As these discussions are commercial-in-confidence we are unable to provide any specific detail," he said.
QIC's $164 million application for stage 1 alterations and additions at Castle Towers has DA approval from council but awaits determination by the Joint Regional Planning Panel.
"QIC Global Real Estate is pleased to contribute to the planned Showground Road upgrade as part of its proposed Castle Towers development," Mr Leigh said.
The agreement covers:
■ The lease of council land in Castle Street, Castle Place, Kentwell Avenue and a tunnel under, and airspace above, Pennant Street;
■ Lease length to be 99 years at a 7 per cent rate based upon a valuation of assets at $15.061 million. Annual increases to be CPI-capped at 3 per cent;
■ A new civic square of more than 2000 square metres as part of the new, stage 3 development of Castle Towers;
■ A 99-year lease by QIC to The Hills Council for peppercorn rental (of $1) for a council/community space of up to 200 square metres within stage 3 of Castle Towers;
■ QIC contribution to the upgrade of Showground Road, along with additional contributions from the state government and The Hills Council;
■ Mayor to comment once QIC have accepted the council’s offer.
QIC'S full response follows:
Managing Director of QIC Global Real Estate, Steven Leigh, confirmed QIC was in ongoing discussions with Hills Shire Council and would continue to work closely with them on a number of items to progress the design and planning for the proposed Castle Towers development.
“As these discussions are commercial-in-confidence and we are unable to provide any specific detail.
“The proposed development of Castle Towers will create a vibrant and diverse retail atmosphere that reinforces Castle Towers’ position as the preeminent shopping and leisure destination in the region and complements the Centre’s already dynamic offer, which includes David Jones, Myer, Target, Kmart, Coles and Event Cinemas plus more than 300 specialty stores.”
Mr Leigh said the planning and design phases for the proposed development are progressing well and there are many stages before the full scope, cost and timing can be confirmed.
“QIC is consistent in its support of an upgrade to Showground Road for the benefit of the whole community, including Castle Towers Shopping Centre and its proposed development.
“As a long-term investor in the region, QIC Global Real Estate is pleased to contribute to the planned
Showground Road upgrade as part of its proposed Castle Towers development, and this contribution reflects our commitment to enhancing the area’s infrastructure, and positioning it to meet future demand,” Mr Leigh said.