After $1.2 billion invested, ten years of planning and negotiations with almost two years of CBD traffic turmoil, the new Westfield Sydney finally welcomed punters to phase one of the gigantic development.
For those unfamiliar with the project and location, the better part of Sydney City's primary outdoor retail strip; Pitt Street Mall, was progressively bought up by the Lowy Family's Westfield Group and augmented into one huge branded internally focussed super centre.
While debate on the pros and cons of the Mega-Mall trend rages and the demise of "high street" retail traditions and that social impact is highlighted, these centres continue to go up.... "you cant stop progress".
Internally, the transformation is quite impressive ranging from high-concept, the humorous, the whimsical to the brand consistent and the purely luxe aesthetic of established high-end retailers. The securing of these high fashion labels such as Gucci, Mulberry and Armani (to name only a few) has fundamentally seen the bar set higher for the standard of fitouts. With the various levels carefully demarcated by the quality of the goods sold, there is quite deliberately something for all budgets in the new complex, catering to a mixed demographic in the central business district sees the full swathe of tastes in decore and finishes also explored. Surprisingly, this has worked out quite well. In most cases very much on par with some of the international standards we have not seen in local retail ventures to date.
Having kept many of Sydney's design studios and suppliers busy for the past few years, the gradual roll-out of the remaining stores (such as Spanish clothing giant Zara and additional eating options) over the next seven months will undoubtedly see even more striking works unveiled. Put simply, we predict next years IDEA and Australian Interior Design Awards retail categories to be quite competitive!
If you can handle the crowds already trawling through the grand halls, we'd recommend it's worth a look.
It looks shiny, smells new and tastes delicious.