Verdict on GPT shopping centre after tour

GPT's Ben Hughes takes a group of IRT clients on a tour of the new Wollongong shopping centre. Picture: PAUL GLOVER

GPT's Ben Hughes takes a group of IRT clients on a tour of the new Wollongong shopping centre. Picture: PAUL GLOVER

GPT'S new shopping centre on the western side of Keira Street, Wollongong, has received the tick of approval from senior citizens.

Marion Millar, 65, was part of a group of IRT clients taken on a tour of the soon-to-open shopping centre this week.

The invitation came from Wollongong Central project retail manager Ben Hughes who said the GPT Group wanted insight and feedback about the access and facilities at the new centre.

"We are also taking young mothers [onto the site] with prams and doing things like that," Mr Hughes said.

"It just opens up our eyes a little bit. We want to know if there is something that doesn't work. It could be as simple as better signage."

Mrs Millar liked what she saw. The only thing that would help people in senior living facilities was an extension of the free Gong Shuttle service to help retirees get to the shopping centre.

"It is really great," she said. "I couldn't get over the colours and the design. As you looked from the escalators up to the ceiling . . . the detail there was just unbelievable."

Mrs Millar also loved how the outside had been brought into the building.

"With all the windows, you could look out into Keira Street," she said.

"Having all that natural light in there was great. When you normally go into shopping centres, there are no windows and it is all artificial lighting.

"Also in the food court, they have all this alfresco dining where the walls fold up like a garage door opening everything up to the outside."

Mrs Millar said the aisles in Coles were big and there was plenty of parking and easy access.

"It is supposed to be open on September 25. And apparently they are going to put this magnificent Christmas tree in. I think it is going to make a lot of difference to Wollongong."

Mrs Millar said all the shops would start being fitted out in the coming week.

One of the best things about the mall upgrade was being able to stand on the corner of Keira and Crown streets and in the shopping centre and see the beach.

"I remember when I was a kid we used to come down Crown Street in a double-decker bus and you could see the ocean," she said.

"So we are getting that view back again that we had all those years ago."

Husband Lindsay Miller had no doubt the new shopping centre would revitalise the business district and get more people to visit the city centre.

"But I only hope they continue to refurbish the western end of Crown Street," he said."

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