Suburban shopping centres are known more for their tendency of being surrounded by car parks rather than embracing their immediate urban surrounds. Chadstone, Highpoint and Southland definitely fall into the former category, yet as Eastland's metamorphosis continues it is emerging as one of Melbourne's most progressive and inclusive retail destinations.
With Ringwood Station directly opposite (images of its redevelopment can be seen below), centre owner QIC and architects The Buchan Group went about creating a new town centre for Ringwood, taking full toll of Eastland's unique position of being located adjacent to a major transport node.
The addition of further retail space as part of the redevelopment is frankly neither here nor there from an urban perspective, but the delivery of a genuine town square is highly commendable.
The creation of a true Town Centre for Ringwood is a shared vision of QIC, the Victorian Government and Maroondah City Council. A new Ringwood Town Square will set a new standard for quality, service and amenity, featuring exceptional retailing, contemporary al fresco dining incorporating signature restaurants, as well as generous public space for an integrated mix of activities.Ringwood Going Places
As part of the development a new community facility dubbed 'Realm' has recently been commissioned. Incorporating a fully integrated library, learning and cultural centre, Council Customer Service Centre, cafe plus art gallery/exhibition spaces, Realm shapes as the key aspect of Ringwood's new public realm.
Positioned to the fore and soon to be linked with the revamped Ringwood Station via improved pedestrian links, Realm is veiled in a distinctive latticework design that compliments the new exterior of the entire complex. Finishes over the entire redevelopment to date are a step above equivalent recent centre redevelopments.
Slated for the new town square over summer are night markets and music events while the addition of a large TV screen next to Realm will further draw in crowds if and when major events are telecast.
Elsewhere within Eastland and work continues on the $665 million transformation with Probuild Constructions' efforts centred upon the north east section of the site. Upon completion Eastland in its totality will hold 127,000sqm of retail space and in excess of 350 specialty stores plus ancillary services.
The next phase of redevelopment is expected to see a 120-room, five storey hotel front Maroondah Highway. Abutting the newly completed town square, the hotel will frame the western interface of the public thoroughfare and sit opposite the state-of-the-art Realm facility.