New Chadstone Experiences #1: Opening Day

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The latest revamp to Chadstone Shopping Centre saw the northern wing open on 13 October 2016. Since the opening, I have frequented the shopping centre numerous times. Selected visits will form the basis of new articles in this series, which will double up as a review of the Fine Dining restaurants and movie experiences at Hoyts (Lux).

Articles in this series:

  1. Thursday 13 October (Opening Day – this article)

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A quick 20-minute visit in between work and a 6-pm meeting being held at church enabled me to take these photos and marvel at how impressive the new north wing is.

A brisk walk through the new lower ground Food Atrium let me catch a glimpse of all the various eateries. Basically all the major fast food outlets are present in this 1000-seat area. With plenty of Asian selections, ranging from Sumo Salad, Ajisen Ramen, Nene Chicken, Sushi Sushi, Rice Workshop, Dainty Siuhuan and Kyo Teahouse, it is clear that both Chinese and Japanese diets have plenty of choice. As at early December, the last addition to the food atrium is still let to open – Dumplings Plus.

The Fine Dining section on Level 1 will be documented as separate articles in this new series. All fine dining restaurants except New Shanghai and a middle retail space which is likely to house two new restaurants were operating from launch day. New Shanghai opened late November/early December.

The future Lego Discovery Centre opposite Hoyts on Level 2 remains a work under construction, which is scheduled to complete in April. As a Lego fan, I am following their news updates and have participated in their community polling for favourite Melbourne landmarks.

The new flagship stores of H&M and Uniqlo form the new northern boundary of the retail centre, occupying two floors, with Zara occupying a similar amount of retail space spread over two separate blocks at the north-western entrance. Whilst the new Zara store only opened in a similar late November/ early December timeframe, all other retailers were open for business.

Within the greater Chadstone Shopping Centre, ongoing work for the vacated retail spaces continues. The northern end of the West Mall, adjacent to the Fine Dining area is now something of a sports themed localisation, and as you proceed south down the West Mall, this next area is the latest extension to the Luxury retail zone. In general, with the new northern wing opening up, there has been a shuffle of leases as existing stores vacated old spaces and relocated into new bigger leases. As a result, certain parts of Chadstone in the older section have been freed up – in time those gaps will be filled with new tenants.

Crowds visibly appeared to be of a greater number on opening day, a reflection of the local community interest in the final opening and extension of Chadstone. My focus was naturally limited to the new section, but at first glance it was packed! Even at after 5pm, the lower ground Food Atrium was full and people were milling around waiting for tables to be freed up. Queue management was utilitised for entry into H&M and new women’s store Mecca Maxima. With various stores capitalizing on the launch event, some special sales no doubt were fueling the intense demand – an early start to Christmas shopping for some!

Parking

The first impression and impact from the recent construction is evident in the car park signage, whereby the car parks have been simplified into six zones designated by the letters A – F, along with :

  • A: Formerly David Jones car park
  • B: Formerly Target car park
  • C: Formerly Coles car park
  • D: Roof-top Kathmandu car park
  • E: Woolworths car park
  • F: Myer + Kmart car park

Car Parks B and F received the most attention in this latest construction phase.

Car park B was extended with an additional fourth level of car parking added. Being immediately adjacent to the west/north mall, a lot of the temporary construction “huts” were located on the rooftop level during the construction. Modifications were also made to the access roads since the previous ring-road that separated the car park from the shopping centre has now been removed to integrate the car park directly into the complex.

Car park F was extended in two ways:

  1. A new above-ground level was added at the southern end
  2. Extension of the car park south of the car park entrance into the lower basement area below the commercial office building

Access Roadworks

Access to Chadstone via the public external roads has also undergone improvements:

  1. Dandenong Road has a fourth traffic light controlled intersection for a new direct basement entrance to Car park F.
  2. Warrigal Road north-bound traffic approaching Middle Road now has a dedicated left-turn lane for entry to Chadstone.

Public Transport

Along with these improvements we should not overlook the earlier completion of the public transport hub which services 11 bus routes, most of which enable connections with the nearby train stations:

  1. Transfer to Oakleigh Station (best for South-East out-bound travel)
    1. 742 Eastland – Chadstone via Vermont South, Glen Waverley, Oakleigh
    2. 800 Dandenong – Chadstone via Princes Highway, Oakleigh
    3. 802 Dandenong – Chadstone via Mulgrave, Oakleigh
    4. 804 Dandenong – Chadstone via Wheelers Hill, Oakleigh
    5. 862 Dandenong – Chadstone via North Dandenong, Oakleigh
    6. 900 Rowville – Caulfield via Monash Uni, Chadstone
  2. Transfer to Hughsdale Station (best for city-bound travel)
    1. 767 Southland – Box Hill via Chadstone, Jordanville, Deakin University [to Southland]
  3. Transfer to Murrumbeena Station
    1. 822 Chadstone – Sandringham via Murrumbeena, Southland [Connects to Murrumbeena station for trains transfers]
  4. Transfer to Holmesglen Station
    1. 624 Kew – Oakleigh via Caulfield, Carnegie, Chadstone
    2. 903 Altona – Mordialloc via Oakleigh, Heidelberg, Norhtland, Sunshine

For tourists visiting from overseas, a free Tourist Shuttle bus service operates from the Melbourne CBD, Federation Square. Booking online to ensure your reserved seat is required, and as part of the process you need evidence of being a tourist – plane ticket or passport most likely.

Impressions

Knowing that the construction crew had been working tirelessly right up until the opening day, helps me appreciate the finished product in the new Chadstone north wing.

Somehow, at work (Telstra) I heard that some engineers were working in the early hours of opening day trying to ensure the new store connectivity was operational. No doubt many retailers, especially the new flagship stores had teams of tradesmen and staff working to ensure fittings and product were all ready for customers.

Spending time in the new section and the customer experience makes the older side of Chadstone feel… old and slightly smaller. The visual effect of the glass dome rooftop and extra floor for Hoyts/Lego contributes to the larger space available. As you can appreciate from the photos, the new northern wing offers a sense of grandeur. The open high spaces really makes a difference unlike the older parts. And in reality, there is nothing wrong or small about the old sections like the southern DJ – Myer section, but this new wing upscales the centre even more!

As the premiere shopping centre/retail experience of Melbourne and Australia, this renovation serves well to reinforce that position for Chadstone. Congratulations on delivering on time for Christmas 2016!

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