Sandhurst submits Plans for $100m Town Centre

14 October 2021

Sandhurst Retail & Logistics (SRL), formerly Sandhurst Retail, has submitted its plans to the City of Hume for its $100m major town centre in Sunbury South, while announcing the appointment of world- renowned architects OMA to design the centre.

An Urban Design Framework (UDF) has been submitted to council, outlining its vision and strategy for the long-term project that will be delivered over several stages with stage 1 due for 2024.

In line with SRL’s intrinsic goal of re-imagining growth-area retail, stage 1 will comprise a national full- line supermarket and discount department store, commercial and retail spaces, dining and outdoor amenities including a pedestrian-friendly environment, urban interfaces, green space, seating, undercover areas, wetlands, and more.

The overall vision is one that prioritises the pedestrian experience through generous public realm offerings and reasons to visit beyond just shopping.

The major town centre will cater to a growing regional population, which is in the midst of a boom as attractive house prices, government homebuying incentives and lifestyle preferences stoke a generational population shift to regions like Sunbury.

Forecasts by .id reveal that the population of Sunbury will more than double in the next 20 years, jumping from 42,494 in 2021 to 86,640 in 20411, cementing the demand for high-quality retail assets to complement the growing population.

SRL senior development manager Jim Athanas believes the landmark project will complement the area’s growth and evolution, as first home buyers, families and downsizers continue to favour new growth areas in Victoria.

“ It’s no secret that the regions are in the midst of a renaissance, driven largely by COVID lockdowns, shifting lifestyle priorities, and increased work-from-home capabilities, as well as the Homebuilder grant and regional First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) – this rapid growth underpins the need for high- quality retail assets developed alongside housing.

SRL’s managing director Vivek Subramanian considers SRL’s working relationship with OMA as a leading component in delivering the proposed major town centre.

“ As we did with our Wollert centre, we’ve sought to challenge the common perceptions of growth area town centres with our Sunbury project, which is why we decided to collaborate with OMA once again – we know the team well, and we know they can deliver our vision.

“ Submitting this project to council marks another important milestone for our company, as our pipeline continues to expand and diversify, across both retail and logistics assets in Australia’s fastest-growing regions,” he said.

OMA’s team set out to redefine what a town centre could be for SRL’s Sunbury project, explains director Paul Jones, whose team focused on urban integration, activation, and diversity of uses, in addition to permeability, transparency and connectivity as part of its strategy to heighten user experience to coincide with its innovative design approach.

“ We definitely looked to reinvent the concept of a town centre – we’ve consolidated uses around very clear public circulation strategies; rather than spreading uses broadly around the precinct, we’re tightening it up and bringing it closer together, so there’s a better concentration of use, activation and connection for people.

“ We’re using good urban principles and planning strategies to bring urban design, architecture and landscape together to deliver a completely different type of outcome – I don’t think there is anything like it.

“ The suite of different uses and buildings will be broken-down, instead of being singular and monolithic in their form – they will be humanised, and the connection between inside and outside will be massively different to what people are used to. We’re really excited about the concept and looking forward to seeing it take shape,” he said.

It’s the second collaboration between SRL and OMA in the developer’s $1bn portfolio; last year SRL announced the Dutch practice’s Australian office would lead the architecture on its 9,000sqm Wollert neighbourhood centre.

SRL’s development model is build-and-hold, so it will act as the landlord once its centres are complete.