Westfield Doncaster
Westfield Doncaster (formerly Doncaster Shoppingtown) is a shopping centre 50% owned by the Westfield Group and 50% owned by LaSalle Investment Management (as of August 2007) located in Doncaster, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is located on the corner of Williamsons Road and Doncaster Road in the Doncaster Hill precinct, an ongoing planning initiative by the local Manningham council. It is located 20 minutes east of the CBD and is one of the biggest shopping centres in Victoria.

Westfield Doncaster officially opened on 30 September 1969. It was Westfield's first entry to Victoria. The original $12-million centre consisted of the four storey Myer building at the north end, two levels of shops running along the west side to the, then white, eight-storey office tower. On the east side the two layers of shops merged into one layer, then finished at a Coles New World supermarket. The first Coles store was where Esprit is, and Waltons department store was where the first food court later opened but closed due to the 2007-08 upgrade. In 1979 the centre was extended south with two single-storey rows of shops, Kmart, Coles and Village Twin Cinemas. A major redevelopment completed in 1993 saw the centre expand further. A second level of shops was added to the south end including Franklins and a fresh food court above Coles and Kmart. Outside, the colours were a jarring Californian design and local protests saw Westfield alter the image in line with local tastes. However, as the 21st century arrived, time had dulled the looks of the centre following redevelopments of other Westfield centres such as Southland, Fountain Gate and even Sydney's Bondi Junction. The latest revitalisation, which started in January 2007, after years of applying for a permit, saw the centre undergo a full makeover. It involved an overall modernisation of the centre, renovated Coles and Safeway supermarkets plus a Fresh Food market (Colonial Fresh Markets), new Big-W and Target (replacing K-Mart), refurbished Myer, new David Jones, a Borders store , many new mini majors such as JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith Electronics, a larger 9 screen Village Cinemas, dubbed "Our World's Best Cinema" by Village, a black label Fitness First Gym which replaced the old Donacster library, now located in Precinct One, a new food court known as the Drum located on the corner of Williamsons and Doncaster Roads which has sweeping views of Melbourne, new restaurants on the rooftop level, a new bus interchange and over 1500 extra parking spaces, mostly undercover, in a new 6 level parking lot with an LED system indicating free spaces. This unfortunately for Doncaster residents showed the start of paid parking, but at a very low price (first 3 hours free). The number of stores was doubled to 400, which makes it the 5th biggest shopping centre in Australia and 3rd biggest in Victoria in terms of stores. It also made the centre the 10th biggest shopping centre in Australia and 4th biggest in Victoria according to gross lettable area. It was finished on the 16 of October, 2008.

2007-08 redevelopment
The third major redevelopment of Westfield Doncaster started with preliminary works taking place at the centre from September to December 2006, which provided a platform for the main construction works that commenced on 15 January 2007. Doncaster Hill developers met several times with City Council over the next twelve months to discuss creating more sustainable buildings for the community, however little became of the idea of a self-sustaining precinct. It is uncertain whether the wind turbines used at the Manningham Civic Precinct are suitable for powering other buildings. The upgrade was finally completed in October 2008 with the centre doubling the previous size, costing approximately $600 million. The new Westfield Doncaster now features more than 200 new retailers (for a total around 400), a Village Cinemas complex and dining areas that take advantage of the site’s elevated views towards the city skyline. The works required the closure of around 100 stores during 2007 and early 2008, with Myer the only major store remaining open throughout the project, except for a short period when the store itself was refurbished.

Due to the revitalisation, Kmart shut down and was replaced by two new discount stores - Big W and Target. Coles and Safeway both closed in January 2007 and both supermarkets re-opened on Thursday 10 April 2008. Target and Big W were both expected to open on June 18, 2008, however both these openings were pushed back to Thursday 7 August 2008. The Village Twin Cinemas on Williamsons Road were demolished in September 2006 to make way for a multi-level car park, now open, with new cinemas to open above. The Westfield Shoppingtown Library was also demolished and moved to a temporary location in the Municipal Offices. Since then, the Manningham council has decided to permanently relocate it to the council's civic precinct (Precinct One) rather than return it to Westfield Doncaster. Arrivals included a new David Jones department store, a Big W discount department store and the new Target store - all in the second half of 2008. Other features include new electrical stores, Dick Smith Electronics and JB Hi-Fi, which are both now open, expanded dining areas including rooftop restaurants and gourmet fresh food shops. The new Village Cinemas complex on the rooftop level includes Gold Class cinemas. The centre now has improved access, mostly undercover parking and new landscaping. On April 10, 2008 the first stage opening saw a much-larger Coles supermarket (latest format) and Safeway supermarket (2010 store format including self-serve checkouts) return to their old locations at the south (Doncaster Rd) end, alongside 70-plus other new and returning retailers, including a large-format Colonial Fresh Markets, which opened next to Coles. Some retailers are opening their first stores, including Jones The Grocer, which opened its first Melbourne store, OxFam opening its first food store and That Store. Many other stores have relocated to the new precinct or to other positions in the centre and stores that were gone throughout the revitalisation have returned. Westfield Doncaster also introduced a new service called Westfield Butler. This service is for people who don't have the time to do shopping themselves. A group of six butlers will do different tasks, from grocery shopping, to planning weddings or functions. And you can get delivery. Unfortunately, the service does not come cheap, you will be charged 20 percent of the total cost or 10 dollars a delivery. Another new service recently started is Westfield Gizmo. It is a technology service that offers customers a technology installation, upgrade or maintenance service. These "gizmotechs" can arrange to come to your home or you can let them go around the centre with you finding the hardware that suits you. Prices are fixed, but are quite high. Big W opened on the second floor on the 7th of August at the east side of the centre near where David Jones opened in October, to the east of Myer. Underneath the Big W location, the new Target store opened on the 1st level. 25 other stores also opened in this third stage opening. Most previous food court operators closed in late January 2007. The new dining area, named 'The Drum', with over 900-seat capacity, opened on the 26th of June 2008 in a new location overlooking the corner of Doncaster and Williamsons Rds. It features 18 new food stores with different types of foods. The Fitness First Platinum gym also opened on the 14th of August, one week after the stage 3 opening of Big W and Target. In February 2008 a temporary bus interchange opened closer to Willamsons Road. This was to make way for changes to the centre entrance and an upgraded bus interchange. The new bus interchange has been mostly finished. The revitalisation of Westfield Doncaster is now complete, with the last stage opened on the 16th of October. In this last stage, David Jones opened next to Myer, which reopened after a major refurbishment, the dining precinct on the rooftop level, a larger Village Cinemas opened above the Williamsons Road multideck carpark to replace the twin cinemas and the final carpark area next to David Jones opened. The new Village complex features a total of nine auditoriums incorporating three Gold Class cinemas, one huge 22m Vmax screen featuring stadium seating and Dolby Digital surround sound, and one Europa cinema dedicated to fine film; offering a total of 1,755 seats. A new, two-level Borders store also opened at Westfield Doncaster on 4 December. The corner of Williamsons Road and Doncaster Road is complete with the signature glass drum and the red "wave wall" also done. Painting of the Myer Building and the Office Tower also have given these buildings a more modern look to match the rest of the revamped centre. Modernisation of the western entrances to the centre wave also been completed. The current interior is also completed with most of the inside of the centre getting new marble tiling, seating, more modern balustrades and supports, directories, escalators, lighting and other fittings.

Retailers and layout
The shopping centre is now a rectangular-shaped building, with two lines of shops linked at three points, with two individual levels that span the length of the complex. Major retailers were previously located on either end of the centre, but now are located in various locations.These retailers include:
  • Myer Department Store
  • David Jones Department Store
  • Woolworths Supermarket used to have 11 aisles but now has 16 aisles.
  • Coles Supermarket the old supermarket had 10 aisles but the new one has 16 aisles.
  • Colonial Fresh Markets Fresh Produce Store
  • Target Discount Department Store 8,000m2
  • Big W Discount Department Store 9,200m2
  • Village Cinemas Cinemas (including Gold Class, Cinema Europa & VMax)
  • Borders Book Store
  • Fitness First Platinum Gym
  • JB Hi-Fi Electrical
  • Dick Smith Electronics Electrical
  • Apple Store Electrical
  • Toys R Us & Babies R Us Toy & Baby Store
  • Hugo Boss
  • Zimmermann
  • Sass and Bide
  • Oroton
  • Karen Millen

Public transport
Doncaster Shoppingtown only has bus for public transport. The bus interchange off Williamsons Road acts as a major hub for transport activity in the Doncaster district. Situated between two rail lines, the only public transport to Westfield Doncaster is bus services. Throughout the 1970s the Doncaster line was mooted to run down the middle of the Eastern Freeway, with a station at Westfield Doncaster. By 1984 land for the line once it left the freeway had been sold, and by 1991 an independent report investigating construction of the line recommended against it due to the high cost of underground construction. Various plans have also been made for extension of the Balwyn North route 48 tram north to Doncaster. A recent report released by pt4me2 (a local group pushing for rail transit in Manningham) suggests a $5 billion dollar budget for the public transport to make all train services run every 10 minutes and introduce a Doncaster rail line, branching off from Clifton Hill.

Comparison table Before After Number of shops 202 400 Major stores Myer Coles Kmart (Now Target) Safeway(Now Woolworths) Village 2 Cinemas Myer David Jones Woolworths(Formerly Safeway) Coles Target (Formerly Kmart) Big W Colonial Fresh Markets Village 9 Cinemas Borders Fitness First Platinum JB Hi-fi Dick Smith Electronics Apple Store Toys r Us/Babies R Us Car park spaces 3,480 5,000 Retail space (gross lettable area) 51,000m² 120,000m²

Building Activity

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