The $600 million South City Square urban regeneration project in Woolloongabba, Brisbane has secured Woolworths and Reading Entertainment as anchor tenants, with both retailers signing 15-year leases in response to the significant retail demand south of the river.

The deals represent a substantial milestone for joint venture partners Pellicano and Perri Projects, who integrated a 13,000sqm retail component into the project to create a new retail and lifestyle destination in Woolloongabba.

The emerging suburb of Woolloongabba is located just two km from the Brisbane CBD and is easily accessible to the surrounding area. Property research firm, Urbis, has forecasted the Woolloongabba catchment’s population to grow to over 33,000 residents by 2036. This represents a 50 per cent increase from the current population of approximately 22,000.

Pellicano’s Development Operations Manager, Michael Kent, said the South City Square’s vision is to provide residents south of the river with a vibrant activity centre to meet the lifestyle needs of this rapidly growing population.

“The strong interest from high profile tenants, including nationally renowned Woolworths Group and the internationally recognised Reading Entertainment, has reaffirmed our belief that South City Square will be the centre of Woolloongabba’s transformation into a dynamic retail and lifestyle precinct,” said Kent.

“When creating the vision for South City Square, Pellicano and Perri Projects recognised the strong market demand. We sought to create a project that integrated premium retail and hospitality offerings with the quality residential offering, extensive civic uses and public space, to build this new concentrated activity centre for Brisbane.”

Location IQ has reported that the current retail spend in the main trade area in Woolloongabba is estimated at over $358m per annum, and is projected to more than triple in size, increasing to $1.08b per annum over the period to 2031.

“South City Square’s retail and dining precinct is located just a three-minute walk from The Gabba, which draws over 330,000 people to its sporting events each year. That’s 330,000 people that will want to dine, be entertained, and patronise retailers before and after events,” said Kent.

Woolworths’ Regional Property Manager, Phillip Peel, said the company was thrilled to secure one of the key retail tenancies in the South City Square development, as the growing population indicated clear demand for a full-line supermarket.

“Woolworths identified the opportunity at South City Square and worked with Pellicano to secure our long-term presence as part of this new retail destination,” said Peel.

“At Woolworths, we pride ourselves on delivering high quality produce at great value for local residents. We are delighted to be part of South City Square’s regeneration of this former industrial site and are excited that local residents will soon have access to one of Australia’s most modern supermarkets.”

Alongside the great shopping experience at Woolworths, supermarket customers will be able to take advantage of Woolworths’ Click and Collect service – where groceries can be ordered online and picked up at a convenient time and location.

Reading Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of the US listed Reading International, also saw the strong opportunity in the project, jumping on the chance to operate the cinema tenancy which will offer a world class dine-in cinema experience. The cinemas will range from smaller, boutique theatres to a large-screen format theatre, and will be situated within the development’s double-story commercial podium.

“Reading Entertainment is internationally known for its advanced entertainment offerings and we are looking forward to providing these services to Woolloongabba,” said Kent.

South City Square’s retail offering has been designed over multiple levels, with Woolworths situated on the lower ground. This will be only the second time this state-of-the-art lower-ground model has been utilised in Brisbane and has allowed the developers to dedicate more open space on the ground plane to community amenity; encouraging use by the wider population and increasing the dwell time of future patrons.

“South City Square has taken on board design philosophies from some of the best projects around the world, with our research including study tours of precincts such as The Grove in Los Angeles,” said Kent.

“We have worked with a dynamic, integrated design team including hospitality and retail specialists, Six Degrees Architects, DBI Design, and Woods Bagot, to ensure we have every aspect perfected; from our larger retail offerings to our fine-grain food and beverage.”

South City Square will also house a gourmet market hall, fitness centre, and smaller cafes and restaurants. These operators will be next on the list for Pellicano and Perri Projects having finalised the 15-year leases with Woolworths and Reading Entertainment.

“Woolworths and Reading Entertainment will underpin our retail offering and will serve as an anchor drawcard for other supporting tenancies. We are proud to have secured these two premium retailers as they will set the standard for the precinct,” said Kent.