New face for Wollongong Central

Bandages are beginning to come off Wollongong Central's $30 million facelift, with some new stores opening ahead of the November completion.Development manager Steve Turner said the GPT-owned centre's refurbishment was going to plan."We're opening new shops every week through to completion in November," he said."We're also upgrading the public area, we've just opened up the new entry."The upgrade will include more fashion and service stores, new ceilings, toilets, furniture, lights, air conditioning, modern tiled floors and clear glass balustrades.The centre has remained open throughout the revamp which began in June, despite a large number of shops being boarded up for renovation.In July, remaining retailers reported the exodus had created a struggle to remain profitable.However, Mr Turner said retailers that had remained open had "fared very well"."We have a lot of people coming through interested in the work going on," he said."Particularly food retailers have benefited and are holding up quite well."Mr Turner said the company was holding back on some announcements."Towards the end, in November, we will start to bring in some of the more showy finishes," he said."There will be an element of surprise towards the end."Zamel's jewellery shop remained open during the renovation, and store manager Mark Moreing said it had been difficult working in a construction site."Sale-wise we have seen a drop but this month has been better and I think once the renovations are finished it's going to boom. It's going to go off - as long as it is finished for Christmas shopping," Mr Moreing said.

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