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Woolworths pivots into large mixed-use development projects

Supermarket giant Woolworths has pivoted into property development in higher-density inner suburban precincts with a proposed $200 million mixed-use apartment and retail project.

It is planned in the inner-city ring area of Waterloo, which is undergoing significant redevelopment, and will include a mix of new retail, commercial and residential developments with commercial space dedicated to a social enterprise organisation.

Major supermarkets traditionally lease sites, but they are now opting to own some property to give them flexibility and control over the developments.

 Woolworths is moving into owning mixed-use development sites.

Woolworths is moving into owning mixed-use development sites.Credit:Airphoto Australia

The Waterloo project is one of the first in Sydney and complements the plans for similar projects it has under way in Elsternwick and Glen Iris, Melbourne. In Perth, Woolworths recently received approval to push ahead with a mixed-use project in Scarborough.

The group is also looking at a mixed-use development proposal for its landholdings near the flagship supermarket in Neutral Bay in Sydney’s lower north shore. The proposal is still in concept form, pending planning approvals. It has plans for a site in nearby Mosman, which are still in the early stage.

Woolworths is a $50.5 billion ASX-listed supermarket operator and has a property portfolio comprising large-scale distribution centres, warehouses and now mixed-use developments. In June, it spun off its Endeavour pubs and drinks division.

Woolworths’s head of mixed-use development, Pierre Abrahamse, said the group’s vision was to create a vibrant, well-connected and contemporary development, “which integrates seamlessly with the broader Waterloo and south Sydney precincts”.

“We believe our plans align with the City of Sydney’s broader vision to reinvigorate and transform the south Sydney area while delivering much-needed shopping and community benefits for residents,” Mr Abrahamse said.

Known as the “Bourke & Young” mixed-use development at 923-935 Bourke Street, the site will focus on offering sustainability and innovation in its design.

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