Hundreds of new jobs created as major retail hub opens
THE doors of a major retail complex have opened to shoppers for the first time in one of Ipswich’s growth hot spots with hundreds of retail jobs created from day one.
The 20,000 sqm Yamanto Central shopping centre opened a couple of months ahead of schedule on Thursday morning with COVID-19 allowing builders to “power ahead” and fast track development.
Anchor tenants Coles and Kmart as well as a handful of other stores were part of the soft opening of the centre.
Other national brands, a swim school, two gyms, a medical centre and pharmacy will open progressively in the coming weeks.
A grand opening is on track for the middle of the year with a total of 50 speciality stores and an outdoor dining precinct capable of holding 300 people still on the way.
Mainbrace Constructions, which recently built shopping centres in Strathpine, Richlands, Cleveland and Allenstown and completed $15 million in works at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, was the managing contractor for the Ipswich centre.
Yamanto Central forms part of stage one of the wider 25 hectare Yamanto Town Centre development with plans for the next stage lodged to Ipswich City Council by developer Kelly Consolidated.
Kelly Consolidated has owned the land in the city’s south since the 1990s and Yamanto Central is being developed by its centre management arm JMK Retail.
Prouds The Jewellers, The Coffee Club, Clear Skincare, Yamanto Central Patisserie, Smokemart and GiftBox and Concierge Car Wash all opened this week.
JMK Retail general manager Vicki Leavy said the centre would be the “icing on the cake” for the growing Yamanto community.
“The construction was able to just lockdown (and) power ahead (during COVID-19),” she said.
“It’s just the best feeling to finally have this up and trading and early. That’s probably the biggest thing, it’s a sneak peek and unheard of in our world.
“It’s just one of those odd outcomes of COVID.
“Every week there will be shops opening and unveiling.
“Some weeks there will be more than others, it’s just depending on their fit-out times. It will be just the gift that keeps on giving.
“Under this mask there’s a grin from ear to ear.
“This is the beginning of Yamanto Town Centre. We offer that one stop for everything from lifestyle to living to entertainment.”
Ms Leavy wouldn’t reveal the total cost of the complex but said it was a “substantial investment”.
“Yamanto as a community has been well overdue for this,” she said.
The new Kmart store has employed 195 people and the Coles has a team of about 80, of which about 30 have come from existing supermarkets.
The Coles features new store concepts including the pet food pick-and-mix bar, which is the first of its kind in the Ipswich region, and the revamped deli layout which is only in one other store in Queensland.
Click&Collect is available for customers but full delivery is not on the cards.
Store manager Nicky Hume said her team had been on-site for four weeks leading up to the opening with more than 1200 applying for jobs in the new store.
The South Ripley resident has been working for Coles for six years and opened the Silkstone store in 2016.
“We’ve employed 50 new team members from the community who are brand new to Coles,” she said.
“As the centre grows we’ll grow and that gives us opportunity to put on additional team members as we progress.
“It’s a great day for my team and the community.
“I think Yamanto needs a centre like this one and I think it’s great Coles can be part of it.
“This area is growing so much.”
Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.