Mixed Reactions To Proposed Shopping Centre In Pallara

Plans to build a shopping centre on Gooderham Rd in Pallara would likely be delayed. Queensland Investment Corporation, who owns Forest Lake Shopping Centre, has objected to the proposal which has also drawn mixed reactions from locals.

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According to a letter sent to ratepayers on 9 December 2021, Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) had objected to BluePoint Property’s plans for the new shopping centre located at 201 Gooderham Rd, Pallara.

QIC owns Forest Lake Shopping Centre, which is around 3 kilometers away from Pallara. Cr Owen, whose ward covers the fast-developing suburb, revealed in the letter that by objecting, QIC now has the legal right to appeal Council’s approval. This means the construction of the shopping centre would likely be delayed.

“The proposed development conflicts with the Strategic Framework of the Planning Scheme, Rural Zone Code and the Willawong Neighbourhood Plan Code. The scale and intensity of the proposed uses are considered to exceed the demand for those anticipated for the site under the Planning Scheme and expectations of projected rapid population growth,” QIC has written in a submission to BCC.

Based on plans (A005772656) submitted to the Brisbane City Council, BluePoint Property is seeking to build a new shopping centre with a range of centre activity uses, including food and drink outlets, health care service, indoor sport and recreation, offices and shops.

Based on the plans, the total gross floor area of the shopping centre will be 6,797 sqm. According to QIC, this size exceeds the threshold of 4,000 sqm previously considered for a neighbourhood centre on the site. 

Pallara Common artist's rendition
Pallara Common (Photo credit: Brisbane City Council)

Locals’ Feedback

The development application has received mixed reactions from residents, with some residents supporting the plan and some a bit uncertain about it because of traffic concerns.

“The report did not assess the impact to AM peak. Increase in turning movements onto Pallara Ave coupled with greater proportion of egress movements from Pallara Ave onto Gooderham Rd potentially have increased delay,” said one resident who supports the proposal but has some traffic concerns which were not allegedly not addressed in the applicant’s submitted traffic statement.

Pallara shopping centre site
Subject site (Photo credit: Brisbane City Council)

“The traffic report indicates that the 294 car parks is less than the recommended 322 parks according to the TAPS Planning Scheme Policy. This reduction is explained away because of the varying usages of tenancies, but it doesn’t appear to consider that this would be the only neighbourhood center to service Pallara and is likely to attract increased usage from residents who currently commute outside of the suburb for shopping purposes,” said another local.

On a positive note, those who supported the new shopping centre believe it will create hundreds of jobs for locals and families will also be able to walk to the shops which will reduce the amount of traffic in the area.

“The elderly residents and young children of Pallara who are unable to travel to other suburbs, and are at high risk of isolation, will have access to food and drink outlets; health care services; sports and recreation facilities; shopping facilities; and veterinary services,” said one resident who approves of the plan.

To stay updated about the status of this proposed development, see DA-A005772656.

Red Chilli Thai Says Goodbye to Forest Lake After Two Decades

Red Chilli Thai is set to close its doors at the Forest Lake Shopping Centre, after two decades in the hospitality industry.

Mr Kevin Lai, owner of Red Chilli Thai, said that after months of thinking over their options, he and his wife Kate have decided not to renew the lease of the restaurant. November 2021 will be the last time they will serve customers their authentic Thailand dishes like chilli cashew chicken, red curry beef, Pad Mae vegetables, and rice cakes.

Mr Lai bought the lease of Red Chilli Thai from its former owners in 2012 but the restaurant has been open since the shopping centre’s rise in the late 90s. The family has no plans to move the business elsewhere and will mull over their next chapter in the coming months.

Photo Credit: RedChilliThai/Google Maps

Red Chilli Thai has always been the reliable choice for families who need to sort out their lunch or dinner. Far from being a trendy eatery, Mr Lai and his crew have adapted to the times and willingly changed things up to entice repeat and regular customers.

Rebecca McKeown, the manager of Forest Lake Shopping Centre, has not yet named the establishment that will take over the venue but they welcome the opportunity to evolve the selection and meet customers’ needs. 

It comes as Forest Lake Shopping Centre, a state-owned estate, ditches its plans to expand the southern section of the mall for more tenancies. The north side’s improvements, on the other hand, will entail a reconfiguration of the parking spaces and some much-needed upgrades and facelifts.

Forest Lake Shopping Centre Expansion Plans Changed

Plans to expand Forest Lake Shopping Centre to accommodate more retailers and food establishments will no longer push through despite an approved development application. However, the reconfiguration of the parking spaces and upgrades on the outdoor sites at the north section of the property will proceed.  

Queensland Investment Corporation, the owner of the Forest Lake Shopping Centre, has ditched the original plan to extend the south section to include spaces for two more cafes and a discount store. Brisbane City Council approved the plans in late 2019. 

Instead, in May 2021, the company applied for a new development plan (DA A005742977) to incorporate the following changes: 

  • Removal of the mall extension and specialty store component;
  • Car parking layout within the southern part of the site maintained as per current site conditions;
  • Revised Aldi extension and amended landscape and servicing arrangement.

“The revised siting and design of the extension does not result in dramatic changes to the built form in terms of scale, bulk or appearance,” the developers noted. “The extension is small in scale, has a reduced floor area and is of bulk and appearance similar to the existing approval.”

Photo Credit: Developmenti/BCC

“The revised Aldi tenancy extension comprises a building footprint and external appearance is consistent with outcomes regarding bulk, scale, articulation and variation in the Centre or Mixed Use Code. 

“The proposed extension remains as a single storey and adopts materials and building form to maintain consistency with the existing building. The proposed change includes a new roof deck which includes appropriate screening of services to ensure the rooftop does not appear cluttered.”

According to the manager, Rebecca McKeown, the decision to slim down its redevelopment plans was based on the changing needs of consumers. The enhancements will also complement its new tenancies, Kmart and Magnifique Hair Salon.

Council approved the new plans in July.

Forest Lake Shopping Centre: KMart In, Target Out

Kmart is moving into Forest Lake Shopping Centre! The discount shop will replace an existing Target outlet and will open by early 2021.

Forest Lake Shopping Centre confirmed the arrival on social media. 

“At this stage, it is still too early to discuss exact details, but we look forward to sharing more information with our community as plans are finalised,” the post stated.  

Photo Credit: Forest Lake Shopping Centre/Facebook

It comes as Wesfarmers, Target’s parent company, said it will be closing or converting more than 50 stores across the country.

“Target has struggled for many years and has incurred very significant losses. In its current form, it is not viable,” Wesfarmers said in an official statement. “Its costs are too high, including the cost of operating and supplying a large network of physical stores in regional Australia of varying sizes stocking varying ranges. These problems are not unique to Target. 

“Rather than close the business, we considered many options to avoid store closures and retain our people where we can. In regional Australia, about half Target Country stores, 52, are suited to being converted to smaller format Kmart Hub stores.” 

Forest Lake Shopping Centre has 70 specialty stores as well as chains like Aldi, Coles and Woolworths.