Is the stand-alone supermarket consigned to history?

A supermarket at the base of a high-density residential or mixed-use development is nothing particularly new; the Urban Melbourne database has many an example allowing for full line venues in inner-city growth areas such as Fishermans Bend and the like.

However a trend that continues to be borne out is the push of large retail/supermarket chains adding value to their land allotments by inserting apartments above their intended future outlet. The highest profile exponent of this in recent times was Woolworths who successfully gained planning approval for 101 Canning Street, North Melbourne.

Aerial perspective of Woolworths' Canning Street development. Image courtesy Buchan

The permitted scheme sees a mixed-use retail, residential and office development principally consisting of 300 residential apartments over two towers. Woolworths promptly sold off the site upon approval while maintaining the right to operate a full line supermarket of 4400m² should the scheme materialise.

Another large inner-city development sees Coles Group Property's existing Richmond Plaza at 271 Bridge Road, Richmond subject to an approved, SJB-designed redevelopment plan which would include 333 apartments located above a revamped Coles full line outlet. 12,000sqm or retail space and 573 car parking bays are also envisaged within the eclectic design as seen below.

A new Richmond Plaza. Image © SJB

Apartments above supermarkets is almost a given within arms reach of Melbourne's CBD, but as the practice extends into middle ring suburbs it demonstrates that apartments/mixed-use developments are not solely the domain of property developers. As of mid this year Aldi Foods received in principle approval for an five level Aldi store topped with 34 dwellings.

Located at 313 Doncaster Road, Balwyn North, the five level structure over a 2,167sqm site looks likely to be the first taste of substantial higher density living for the suburb dominated by detached housing. Across town Coles Group Property have also instigated construction of 180 Gaffney Street, Coburg North which will feature a Coles outlet in addition to commercial office space and a medical centre.

Coles Group Property parent company Wesfarmers have further shown their propensity to value add to their intended developments, this time utilising Bunnings as an anchor for a large mixed-use development at 659-669 Doncaster Road, Doncaster. Architecture firm Hayball have designed the approved complex which would feature podium space carrying a 10,532sqm Bunnings outlet and 1,598sqm of retail space, in addition to 887 car parking bays and 385 apartments spread over three separate buildings above.

The expected Bunnings Doncaster Hill. Image © Hayball

The trend reaches further with Mimmo Holdings Pty Ltd seeking approval for a mixed-use complex at 3-11 Mitchell Street, Doncaster East. A 2,378sqm supermarket, reception centre, 688sqm restaurant and 65 one and two-bed apartments round out the proposed development that once more seeks to set a height precedent in an otherwise low-rise area.


Whether it be opportunism, shifting with the times or a concerted push to diversify a business model, the practice of adding additional uses atop a traditional supermarket or the like is growing. Is it fair to assume that most future build supermarkets aside from those on the periphery of Melbourne will incorporate a degree of apartment living above? Most likely.

That chains such as Aldi and Coles are leading the charge shows how lucrative large tracts of land within metropolitan Melbourne have become.

1 comment

Bilby's picture

239-249 Johnston Street Fitzroy definitely fits into this category, too:

Back to top

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.