This is how the Plaza will look in 2015 if concessions are met.
This is how the Plaza will look in 2015 if concessions are met.

Myer coming to Coffs

COFFS Harbour City Council and the State Government will determine whether a Myer department store opens here or in Port Macquarie.

That's one of the stark outcomes following the close of submissions to the draft city centre plan designed to steer the region's future.

Of the more than 250 public submissions received, one from Park Beach Plaza's parent company, the Bachrach Group, was most notable for its significance to local commerce.

"Because of the potential impact of the draft local environment plan, we were forced to release our master plan 12 months ahead of schedule," general manager of the Bachrach Group Steve Gooley said.

"The submission means the plan we have been working on for two years is now public information."

As a consequence, Mr Gooley and the Bachrach executive invited all Plaza and Homebase retailers to a special briefing on Monday night to reveal the company's vision for the site.

If council and the government stick to their guns on two points in the city centre plan, however, much of the Park Beach Plaza vision will never be realised including the anticipated arrival of Myer at the completion of Stage 3 development in 2015.

The draft imposes new height restrictions on the Plaza site and limits its growth footprint.

"Our submission does not ask for anything new just retention of what we currently have," added Mr Gooley. "If these proposed changes are adhered to, Myer will not be coming to Coffs Harbour."

Part of the Bachrach submission includes a letter from Myer regional property development manager Brad Karge who states the Plaza site presents "an appealing opportunity".

The proposed site for the store is the northern end of the Plaza precinct facing the Highway. Sitting alongside it to the south would be a new multi-level carpark butted to the store.

The Myer regional roll-out is already under way in Queensland with stores announced for Mackay, Robina and Mt Gravatt, all of which will be around the 10,000 square metres earmarked for the Mid North Coast.

The Bachrach Group estimates its own development plans would create 500 new local jobs and limit the 'escape expenditure' of shoppers who head outside the district to purchase premium products.

"We expect there might be some concern from Coffs Harbour's CBD retailers about our master plan but, in reality, Myer coming to town will create more retail and tourism opportunities and the CBD specialises in other areas such as professional services," said Mr Gooley.

"The further proper development of Park Beach Plaza strengthens considerably the whole of the Coffs Harbour business community."

The Plaza master plan also includes a 're-aligning' of Target that will see more speciality shops added in the extra space made available. By 2030, the growth strategy for the site even has provision for 'shop-top' housing.

"We've proven every four to five years that we continue to enhance the site and in doing so, play a key role in the growth of Coffs," said Mr Gooley.

"We want to be able to continue to do that and help the city stay ahead of competitors in Grafton and Port Macquarie."



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