FIVE years of patient waiting by shop-starved Estella residents is about to be rewarded with work likely to start on a $14 million shopping centre within a few months.
Wagga City Council (WWCC) has approved businessman Stuart Webster’s development application.
The granting of a construction certificate within weeks and the calling of tenders will be the final planning steps before construction begins.
The breakthrough has been applauded by Estella Progress Association president, Paula Charnock.
The shopping centre, built on the corner of Avocet and Rainbow drives, will be anchored by a Foodworks Supermarket.
Other tenancies being sought by managing agent Stephen Millard, of Raine and Horne, include a take-away food shop, pharmacy, newsagency/post office, coffee shop, butchery and a hairdressers.
Construction will take a maximum 12 months to complete.
The shopping centre will be 13,000 square metres in size, about a third bigger than the Webster-owned Turvey Park shopping centre.
Mr Webster was apologetic for slow progress, but insisted all the steps taken were necessary to get everything right.
A much smaller centre was mooted five years ago by another business group, but when Mr Webster bought the site from them he wanted to build a larger complex.
However, he had to wait for the finalisation of WWCC’s new Local Environment Plan for the rezoning of adjoining land onto which the project could expand.
“You can’t go out there and only half do it,” Mr Webster said. “If we do it right, it puts independents on the map, and it will be truly local.”
Mr Millard said interest shown by potential tenants of the specialty shops would now be chased up.
The shopping centre’s design will be modern but sympathetic to the landscape, he added.
Estella and nearby Boorooma are being developed at a rapid pace, with 2500 houses forecast there within five years.
Mr Webster said he had been told 50 blocks of residential land had been bought in four days recently at Estella Rise.
Land opposite the shopping centre has been earmarked for a public school.
Mrs Charnock said residents of Settlers Village would benefit greatly from the shopping centre.
“Quite a few get around on gophers (mobility scooters), and having a shopping centre nearby will maintain their independence,” Mrs Charnock said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.