WHAT WE KNOW:
- Coles project they would take $37.5million off Gladstone supermarkets, shopping centres and specialty stores
- The project is expected to bring 180 jobs to Gladstone
- The total size of the complex will 19,992sqm
- Coles wants to build a supermarket, liquor store, two specialty shops and a service station.
- The site is on Dixon Dr, directly opposite Kirkwood's Woolworths, Caltex, and McDonalds.
- Two applications with council are at different stages
COLES has revealed it plans to open its proposed shopping centre in Kirkwood by 2018.
But parts of the shopping centre will continue to be upgraded and developed well into the future.
A 2018 open date means Coles would need to begin construction reasonably soon, despite not committing to a start date yet.
And by 2028, where Dixon Dr and Kirkwood Rd meet will be an "ultimate four way" lane intersection, if the supermarket giant has its way.
In its plan to council, Coles has offered a two-stage plan, which includes an upgrade to the intersection for a 2018 open and another upgrade in 2028.
Coles' says the upgrades will be needed to manage the increased traffic.
In coming to its traffic projections, Coles has considered population growth, commercial developments and residential developments, among a list of other factors.
It says the upgrades are needed to make its proposed shopping centre commercially viable.
But even with the upgrades, drivers will still queue in traffic for longer, with delays expected to increase from 31 seconds in 2018 to 47 seconds in 2028.
Queues will run 156m back in 2028, up from just 54m in 2018.
WITH bushland to the left and a major competitor in Woolworths to the right, Coles' proposed Kirkwood site appears to be stuck in the middle of an area with little traffic.
But Coles is looking much longer term with its proposed investment.
The supermarket giant has already released detailed projections that show what it expects to earn at the proposed shopping centre in 10 years.
But Coles also appears to be banking on the potential for some other major developments -- residential and commercial -- that would increase traffic in the area.
Five lots around Coles' proposed development have been allocated by council as "residential", which could bring a massive increase in foot and road traffic.
And even more exciting is traffic which would likely be generated from a commercial lot across the road.
A proposed child care centre, which would neighbour Coles, is also expected to bring more customers to their proposed shopping centre.
YOU may ask yourself why the supermarket giant Coles would want to develop a huge shopping complex at Kirkwood given how depressed the Gladstone market seems.
But documents provided to the council, show just how lucrative the project could be.
At present the total annual retail spending generated by Kirkwood locals is $222.2 million, and by 2026 Coles estimates this mammoth total to grow to $340.1 million.
Coles has made four separate applications to the council with advanced plans to build a new Coles supermarket, Liquorland, two fast-food restaurants, approximately six shops and a Coles Express petrol station directly opposite Woolworths on the corner of Dixon Dr and Kirkwood Rd.
Mayor Matt Burnett met with officials from Coles on Monday who said they were "very keen" to get things under way.
He said the next step for the company would be to notify the public and assure the council issues relating to access to the site on Kirkwood Rd and potential congestion on Dixon Dr would be resolved.
However, if Gladstone had so far missed out on the nasty national battle for supremacy between Coles and Woolworths, they may soon see it up close and personal.
In a sign of how ruthless the competition is between the big supermarket players, Coles predicts it will be able to attract $13 million from the existing Woolworths site at Kirkwood; $16.9 million from the Stockland Centre; $3.7 million from Sun Valley; $2 million from The Valley; and, $0.6 million from Clinton. The flip side to this is the development of a Coles shopping complex at Kirkwood is expected to bring a big boost to employment in Gladstone, with 180 full and part-time jobs up for grabs.
"This is a very significant investment by Coles in the community, which will result in around 100 construction jobs and around 80 retail jobs," a spokeswoman for Coles said, adding, "The proposed Coles in Kirkwood is designed to service the local residents and provide additional choice."
Marketing expert and Associate Professor at the University of Queensland Business School, Jay Weerawardena, said in the short and long-term, the Coles move will be good for customers.
"What [Woolworths will] normally do is start a price war to avoid consumers shifting," he said.
"In terms of competition it's good for the region and will have a trickle-down effect for local suppliers … the consumers will benefit in any price war," he said.
Prof Weerawardena said what will be most telling, however, is the influence the new Aldi will have and the potential impact on smaller retailers like FoodWorks and IGA.
"It can be disruptive [having Coles and Woolworths enter the market] because they will wipe out … small businesses," he said.
Rick Hansen, who owns Clinton FoodWorks, said there was always concern when big supermarkets come to town.
"But we're a different kettle of fish and although it's great for more competition, we rely on top ups, being convenient and our friendly service," he said.
A Woolworths spokesperson said the company welcomed the increased competition.
"We will continue to provide our loyal Gladstone customers with the great value products they are accustomed to seeing at their local Woollies," the spokesperson said.
- DECLAN COOLEY