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Ellenbrook exceeds growth forecasts

THE Shops at Ellenbrook, the retail heart of the burgeoning Swan Valley township, has been expanded beyond the requirements of the original agreement because of rapid population growth in the area.

The latest development will see the shopping centre more than triple in size and double the original agreement between landholders Ellenbrook Management Pty Ltd and developer The Insurance Commission of WA.

"The Shops" opened in late 2004 under an agreement which obliged ICWA to develop a total of 15,000sqm of retail space by 2010.

The latest additions, due for completion by December 2010, will expand the centre to 32,000sqm.

Ellenbrook Project Manager Justine Mountford said with Woolworths as the anchor tenant and the rapid growth of the Ellenbrook area, ICWA invested beyond the original agreement to meet most needs of residents locally.

Ellenbrook's population is forecast to exceed 41,000 by 2011.

Stage one was originally planned as a 5,000sqm centre with a further 10,000sqm in stage two.

In reality, the first stage was 8,300sq m and the second stage 22,000sqm.

ICWA managing director Vic Evans told WA Business News construction on stage two would start in August 2009 and the extensions open for trading in December 2010, subject to City of Swan development approval and the project's financial feasibility.

"We have recently appointed Hames Sharley as the project architect and Savills are currently taking expressions of interest from retailers via The Shops at Ellenbrook website," Mr Evans said.

Mr Evans said despite the credit crunch, the centre was performing well and, on average, retailers were achieving good sales growth year on year.

"The economic climate may affect demand for new tenancies; however as to the extent of this we cannot be certain," he said.

The centre has one of the largest Woolworths supermarkets in WA and 40 specialty stores. It employs more than 450 people.

The expanded centre will have a leading discount department store and another supermarket and employ a further 1,000 people, more than a quarter of the total employment opportunities available in the town centre by 2010.

Ms Mountford said more than 23,500 people passed through The Shops every week.

The centre serviced a population stretching from the Reid Highway to Bullsbrook and drew people from as far afield as Chittering and the Perth Hills.

Ellenbrook is currently a residential township with limited commercial activity.

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