Kardinya rises

Photo Caption: Willagee MP Peter Tinley, planning minister Rita Saffioti, developer Con Berbatis, Bateman MP Kim Giddens, Melville councillors Nicole Robins and Duncan Macphail, and Labor South Metro MLC Klara Andric turn the first sod at Kardinya Park.

THE first sod was turned on the $100 million revamp of the Kardinya shopping centre during a showery ceremony on Wednesday morning.

While artist Yondee Shane Hansen’s welcome to country belied the conditions by noting the centre’s name means “sunrise” in Whadjuk, its alternate meaning of “racehorse goanna” fitted better with developer Con Barbatis’s joke to his builder that he’d be on their case to bust the mid-2024 construction deadline.

When completed, the centre will boast nearly 9000sqm of extra retail, a medical centre, nine storeys of apartments, a multi-level carpark and a new food and entertainment precinct.

Mr Berbatis also revealed the centre will be one of the first in WA to introduce facial recognition technology, which will partly be deployed for security, but also to help refine marketing by identifying how different sectors of the community respond to campaigns.

The millionaire pharmacist-turned-developer said it had been hard work getting approval with “many doubters”, but he had a new-found appreciation for politicians thanks to the support he’d received from Willagee MP Peter Tinley, whose electorate used to cover the centre before a redistribution.

“We have owned this centre since 1989, two years after our daughter Catherine was born and a year after having married in Melbourne,” Mr Barbatis told the crowd which included planning minister Rita Saffioti.

He said it was a bog-standard strip mall when they first took over, but expects the redevelopment to become a thriving hub thanks to its proximity to the booming Murdoch activity centre, which was likely to drive strong population growth.

Mr Berbatis said a number of retail tenants had already signed up to move into the revamped centre.

The works will also see access to the centre improved, with traffic lights at a new entrance further east on South Street to get rid of the current ramp.

by STEVE GRANT

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