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
My Real Estate Mate logo

Development & Planning

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 00:00
Following its acquisition of Waterfront City late in 2014, current owners Ashe Morgan have moved to further reinvent and reposition the precinct, which includes Harbour Town and the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel as major drawcards. The first stage of overhaul works which were concentrated on Harbour Town are concluding. These...

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 14:30
On Monday 24th of October, the iCities: World Class CBDs series conference kicks off. First held in Kuala Lumpur, this year's conference is to be held at the Langham Hotel on Southbank. iCities is owned and operated by iProperty Group, a network property under the REA Group umbrella brand. Over...


Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 17:00
Melbourne’s architectural landscape is a wonderful juxtaposition of modern and Victorian architecture. Although the CBD has been peppered with many skyscrapers, its historical structures have won Melbourne the title of “Australia’s most European city”. Perhaps the most striking example of this juxtaposition between old and new is the Coops Shot...

Transport & Design

Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 07:00
108 Leicester Street is a collection of eight multi-level Fitzroy townhouses that have been designed to respond to the changing face of multi-residential living in Melbourne. The hybrid inner-city dwellings combine developer/builder FOURSQ with Melbourne firm BKK Architects. The design acknowledges the housing typologies of the development's Fitzroy neighbourhood with...

Sustainability & Environment

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 00:00
The proposed new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) on Sturt Street is shaping to become much more than a cutting edge venue. While the project has been given coverage to date across a range of mediums, very little has been said regarding the project playing an integral part in the...