Originally published on The Queensland Times

EXCITEMENT is building with the former Masters store in Springfield, which has sat unused for five years, set to finally be resurrected.

The three-hectare site is owned by property group Home Consortium, which acquired the assets of Masters Home Improvement in 2016 when it was shut down.

The delay in redeveloping the site could be put down to a legal battle with a rival shopping centre in the area.

The building will undergo an “extensive redesign” according to the Greater Springfield Facebook page.

“Greater Springfield’s HomeCo will cater to a wide range of home design and decorating needs, as well as a mix of national lifestyle and service brands,” it states.

The company has remained tight-lipped so far and declined to answer questions on exactly what is coming next.

HomeCo is backed by some of the biggest brands in Australia including McDonald’s, Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, IGA, Anaconda, Chemist Warehouse, Rebel, Harvey Norman, Liquorland, Dan Murphy’s, Spotlight, BCF, Petbarn, Officeworks, KFC and more.

“Your new home of all things fresh food, leisure and lifestyle will be opening soon,” the HomeCo website states.

“HomeCo Springfield caters to a wide range of home design and decorating needs, as well as a mix of national lifestyle and service brands.

“A portfolio of 35 assets are present in five states under the HomeCo brand, offering a unique mix of everyday needs and inspired lifestyle brands, with many anchored by national supermarkets and many of Australia’s most successful retail brands.

Approval was granted by Ipswich City Council in 2019 for the site to include an automotive shop, a retail warehouse, restaurants, a medical centre, and an indoor recreation centre.

Plans also included provisions for a chemist and pharmacy, a discount store, craft and hobby supplies, home wares and a pet products store.

The application noted about 100 jobs were expected to be created when the centre was operational.

Mirvac, which owns Orion shopping centre in Springfield, took Ipswich City Council to court, with HomeCo as a co-respondent, that year.

The matter was over whether the council’s approval of an amendment of an area development plan for the former Masters site granted in 2018 was lawful.

It was dismissed by Judge William Everson in November 2019 in the Planning and Environment Court.

“At its essence the position of the applicant is that the respondent had no power to approve the application the subject of the decision notice because it did not follow an impact assessment process,” the decision notes.

“The applicant submits that the proceeding is ‘brought on the basis of administrative

law type errors in the council’s decision-making process’.

“The applicant has not discharged the onus of demonstrating jurisdictional error on the part of the delegate of the respondent in decisions giving rise to the issuing of the decision notice.”

HomeCo had another development application approved in September last year to amend its area development plan for the site.

It applied for a new plan nominating the site as a retail warehouse for the sale of automotive parts and accessories, as well as commercial premises, indoor recreation classed as a 24-hour gym and children’s play centre, medical centre, restaurant and child care care.

It sought to increase the child care centre capacity to 140 places and nominate the site for a proposed container cycling centre.

The application revealed some new details on what is planned.

“The proposed medical centre layout is yet to be finalised, however there is interest from medical, allied health and wellness providers,” the application notes.

“The medical centre seeks to deliver a convenient multidisciplinary health hub that provides, health, medical and wellbeing services within one tenancy.

“It is expected that up to 10 doctors and six technical/nursing staff will be based at the centre.

“Whilst membership numbers of the gym are currently unknown, it is expected that up to five (full time equivalent) staff will be on site, with fitness instructors contracted on as-needs basis to class size/membership demand.

“Based on other large format gym developments, it will provide dedicated floor areas for activities associated with machines, free weights, heavy lifting, cross fit, spin bikes, boxing, and the like.

“These will be for the use of members over a 24-hour period.

“As well as providing areas for specialist and general workouts, a range of fitness classes will occur throughout the day.

“It is intended that the gym will allow for a dedicated 24-hour entry from the main car park.”

The application notes there is “interest from a range of operators” for a children’s play centre gym and adjoining cafe.

“It is anticipated to include a focus on children’s health and wellbeing with layout to be designed to suit the tenant,” it notes.

“This may include aspects including a children’s gym, a soft-play playground, party rooms, and ancillary cafe aimed predominantly at the 0-11 age group.

“It is expected that children’s parties will run hourly from 10am to 6-7pm with 30-minute gap to allow for cleaning or areas.

“This allows for around six timeslots, hosting up to 15 children, and with five/six parties running in separate zones simultaneously in peak periods.”

There has also been tenant interest in the premises for a container recycling facility.

“A container refund point on behalf of Container Exchange, under the Containers for Change scheme is under consideration,” the application notes.

“The tenancy would operate seven days a week, 6am to 6pm, with a minimum of two FTE equivalent staff, extending to six FTE staff during busy period such as weekends.”


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