The shopping centre alongside Nepean Highway
|Location||Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia|
|Opening date||September 1968|
|No. of stores and services||~400|
|Total retail floor area||~129,180m²|
|No. of floors||
|Public transit access|
Westfield Southland is a super regional retail complex located in the suburb of Cheltenham, in Melbourne, Australia. Southland has a floor area of 129,180m², making it one of the biggest shopping centres in Australia by size. There are approximately 400 retailers in Southland, including Myer, David Jones and Harris Scarfe. According to the Melbourne 2030 Metropolitan Strategy, Southland is recognised as one of 26 Principal Activity Centres. The centre is also one of the most profitable shopping centres in Australia, with an annual turnover of $806.5-million recorded in 2015.
Southland shopping centre was designed by Melbourne architects Tomkins, Shaw & Evans, who had previously designed Westfield Miranda (then Miranda Fair) in 1964. At the time of its opening in September 1968, Southland was one of Melbourne's premier shopping centres. It was a relatively small shopping centre with only a few stores such as a Myer department store, Safeway supermarket, and a special roof garden. Architects Tomkins, Shaw & Evans received the Victoria Award in 1969 for their design of Southland, beating the National Gallery of Victoria for the award. This was during a period when shopping centres were recognised "for the quality of their design or amenity". Prior to the mid–1980s Southland was owned by the Myer Emporium, and the centre would not rival the nearby Chadstone Shopping Centre in size, until the Westfield Group took over management.
During Southland's history, many renovations and face-lifts have shaped the centre, such as the first expansion in 1987 and the development of a Village Cinemas complex and food court in 1990. The rooftop garden was removed upon first redevelopment and was replaced with a third level of stores.
Prior to the extension, the 70,000 m² Southland shopping centre had very limited development options. In June 1991, Westfield developers began discussions with the City of Moorabbin about the rezoning of the 60,000 m² Cheltenham market area in order for them to construct a multi-million dollar extension of Southland as part of a major redevelopment. The original plan was to have replaced the market with a 10-storey office tower and a two-level shopping centre, with a retail bridge connecting the new centre with the existing Westfield Centre over the eight-lane Nepean Highway. The new centre would feature a discount supermarket and a regular supermarket as well as new specialty stores. All up, the whole centre would comprise up to 360 stores. In June 1993, planning approval was given by the Minister for Planning Rob Maclellan.
In December 1996, plans were changed in favour of better car park arrangements as well as easier access to the centre. The centre would soon feature more than 400 stores across three levels.
In November 1997, demolition commenced at the Cheltenham market site. In March 1998, the first concrete was poured by the Premier of Victoria Jeff Kennett. The two sites were to be linked by a bridge with shops on it. The former cinemas and food court were demolished, and the wide, multi-level retail-pedestrian-vehicle bridge (largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere) was added. During this time, the Myer anchor moved from the original site to the newer site. Construction was not just limited to the new site with the original site being upgraded to include a new larger cinema complex, in the youth-oriented mall called The Street.
The redevelopment was opened in stages, with The Street opening in April 1999. The main part of the redevelopment, the additional site and bridge were opened on October 28, 1999. The $300 million redevelopment was completed on May 5, 2000, with the opening of the David Jones Department store.
Subsequently, another $13 million was used for additional work, which included construction of shaded car park areas, two new car park ramps as well as a large glass window attached to the second level of the retail bridge, which has views 16 kilometres in the distance of the Melbourne CBD.
Westfield Southland features up to 400 stores including 3 department stores, 3 discount department stores, 3 supermarkets, 3 electrical (computers, television etc.) retailers and a 16 screen Village Cinemas Multiplex (movie theatre).
- Myer department store 1968- (relocated in 1999 to its current store location)
- David Jones department store 2000-
- Coles supermarket (18 aisles, 5,100m²)(New latest concept store)
- Kmart discount department store (7,568m²) (refurbished in 2012)
- Target discount department store (8,940m²)
- Woolworths supermarket (18 aisles, 4,246m²)
- Big W discount department store (8,179m²)
- Aldi supermarket (850m²)
- Harris Scarfe department store
- Village Cinemas 16 screen cinema multiplex with Gold Class, Cinema Europa and Vmax cinemas
Southland in film and television
A large number of scenes for the Seven Network comedy Kath & Kim were filmed at Southland. In the programme the centre is designated as Fountain Gate, where some of the shopping scenes are also filmed. The centre is also featured in multiple episodes of the ABC2 television drama-comedy series Please Like Me.
Westfield Southland has a major bus interchange located on the corner of Karen Street and Nepean Highway. This bus interchange has 11 ptv routes.
Westfield Southland is a fifteen-minute walk or a short bus ride from Cheltenham railway station.
In 2015, the Victorian Government committed to building a railway station at Southland to serve the busy shopping centre. The railway station will cost approximately $13 million and it will have two platforms. The station will be a premium station located on the Frankston line, adjacent to Southland. Construction on the station is to commence in 2016 and be completed by 2017. When Southland opened in 1968, discussions were raised on whether a railway station would be built on the Frankston line, adjacent to land then-occupied by the St John of God home for boys. Despite this, plans were not submitted. The proposal arose again in 1990, in conjunction with the redevelopment of Southland, however proposals fell through.
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