A $50 million Christmas present for Hobart shoppers has arrived. We are to get a number of new shops and a large new supermarket. This will add variety and choice to the Hobart CBD and is welcomed.

Please let us know what you think of the large development. Are you glad of changes to the Hobart CBD? Will it make you visit the Hobart CBD more?

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your input.

This story from The Mercury.

$50m present to shoppers

THE opening of a new shopping precinct in Hobart is expected to give the city a desperately needed boost.

The first section of the $50 million Wellington Centre redevelopment is due to open on December 1, just in time for the Christmas shopping rush.

The Sunday Tasmanian last week had an exclusive preview of the centre, which will feature several food outlets, a fashion store, pharmacy warehouse and the CBD’s only full-sized supermarket.

Retail Traders Association of Tasmania president Kieron Mills said the development was “good news” for shoppers.

“To have the variety of choice is good and I think it’s great that we’re getting the competition back in the city,” he said.

“The city has been quiet for a while and it’s good to see [developer] Ali Sultan make that kind of investment in the CBD.”

Sultan Holdings project manager Tim Lucas said 10 out of 11 shops in the centre were already leased, representing 98 per cent of available retail space.

He said many interstate business owners had leased shops. “We’re delighted. The whole mix we’ve got here is going to be complimentary to what’s already on offer in the city,” Mr Lucas said.

A large-scale excavation project created space for the new Woolworths supermarket, which stretches under Wellington Centre and the council-owned car park next door.

A Woolworths spokesman said the store was a “multi-million dollar vote of confidence in the future of central Hobart”.

The store will have a full range of groceries and, like CBD stores interstate, it will have a range of products aimed at city workers and visitors, including ready-made meals and sandwiches.

The supermarket created 65 new jobs and will employ a total of 90 locals.

Melbourne hospitality veteran Mez Eid moved to Tasmania with his brother to open two new food outlets in Wellington Centre.

They will open a coffee shop called Jamaican Blue and a food bar called Blackcurrant.

The cafe will offer seven types of coffee and include a tea bar, while the food store will have a gourmet sandwich bar, rotisserie and grill in its counter so fresh meats can be cooked to order.

“I feel like Tasmanians are screaming out for variety,” Mr Eid said.

“At the moment they can eat at a cafe in the city or a cafe in Moonah and what they get is exactly the same. So why would they come to the city?

“The shops that are here aren’t giving the customers what they want.

“I think there’s room [for businesses] to grow here, but you need a bit of change.”

A Good Price Pharmacy will also open in the new complex.

Franchise development officer Anthony Yap said the store would complement the medical and allied health services that will occupy four floors of office space above the shopping arcade in later stages of the project.

The main shopping level of the new complex will be accessible via Wellington Court, Liverpool and Argyle streets and an overpass link to the hospital is expected to open in the third stage of the project, in July 2012.

The new development will also include an extra 550 parking spaces, accessed through the existing car park on Argyle St.

Photo Credit: Olaf via Compfight cc