VIDEO: Step inside Rocky's newest shopping centre
WE'RE building it for the locals, with the locals.
That was the message heard loud and clear from AHC Limited managing director Rod MacLeod as he walked through the almost completed Parkhurst Town Centre yesterday morning.
With just under three weeks until Rockhampton's newest shopping centre opens, the corner of Boundary Rd and the Bruce Hwy is a hive of activity as workers race to deliver a finished product by November 16.
But there is no doubt the centre's main attraction is going to be finished on time, with stock already being stacked on the shelves at the highly anticipated Woolworths Parkhurst.
Mr McLeod said Woolworths Parkhurst would offer a shopping experience never before seen in the wider Rockhampton region.
"Wooloworths is well and truly inside and well advanced on the equipment installation and stocking. We have an abundance of some six semi-trailer loads of food and produce already going onto the shelves in there,” Mr MacLeod said.
"It's looking pretty amazing, it's going to be pretty unique, no other Woolworths store in Rockhampton looks like this store.
"It is the latest and greatest new model that Woolworths is offering. It's a real barn feel, the farm fresh barn feel. I think people are really going to enjoy shopping here.
"The official opening date is 16 November but Woolworths are telling me now they'll do a bit of a soft start for the locals on Tuesday evening. I'm hearing around 4.30 in the afternoon on Tuesday, the 15th, they'll do a ribbon cutting and an early start for this community out here.
With Woolworths out of the way, Mr MacLeod said the focus had switched to fitting out the centre's speciality stores, which include Priceline Pharmacy, Puma Service Station, BWS Bottleshop, CQ Doctors, The Lucky Charm newsagency, 12 Round Fitness, Breeze Hair and Beauty, Sushi Break, a nail salon, a barber shop, Toucan Coffee, a bakery, a massage parlour, a butcher and Madhouse Discount Variety.
"We're only about three weeks from opening and there is still plenty of work to do but it's going very well,” he said.
"We have got between 11 and 15 stores that we are working with. We have tried to develop precincts within the centre, food precincts, health and beauty precincts.
"We are very happy, considering the market place in CQ at the moment of what we will have when we open. Some will trickle on to opening in December.
"These are local businesses and that's important for us.”
Supporting local business is certainly the theme at Parkhurst Town Centre with Mr MacLeod ensuring local products and workers were used throughout the entire construction of the complex.
"About 18 months ago before we started building the centre I attended a conference where many people in the community said you're a Gold Coast property development - are you just going to be bringing up workforce to build this centre? I heard that pretty loud and clear,” he said.
"To build trust with the community we've employed 100% where we can local contractors from CQ Plumbing, Wieland Concreting, painters, plasterers, you name it every where we could get a local contractor we did to build trust but also for employment.
"This is a big project, probably one of Rocky's biggest projects at the moment and it's important for us to do that. Everything you see... local materials have been sourced.
"We have a Facebook page set up for the centre and we posted the other day when the centre was likely to open and we've reached 14,000 people and some of the comment have been overall extremely positive. That's the catchment really that's not serviced out here. That's why we believed in purchasing the site.
"We are only a small to medium sized business but this is our third major shopping centre we've built. We believe in this area and they need it, so we're delivering it and happy to do so.”
Councillor for the Parkhurst division of the Rockhampton Region Rose Swadling said the local community was 'almost bursting at the seams to come through the front doors'.
"This is something coming to reality at long last for some residents,” Cr Swadling said.
"It brings quality of life. People spend so much time travelling from one point to another. As this a growth corridor this is a benefactor for us, for our region and for our residents.
"I think this is amazing. We have a university up the road, a school in the catchment and we also have a lot of young people that don't have jobs. It's a great opportunity. Get your resumes in and ensure you are one of those people that gets selected on the day. We talk about youth and unemployment, these are great career opportunities. Woolworths are well renowned for giving opportunities to young people.”