Highfields is one of the fastest growing residential communities in the Toowoomba region and its Town Centre continues to mature to meet the needs of its future population.
The Highfields Village Shopping Centre, the focal point for the local community, is currently undergoing a major redevelopment and expansion in response to the needs of its local and surrounding population.
In a further reflection of the continued growth of the area, the Queensland State Government has confirmed its intention to build a new State High School, just 500m from the shopping centre. It is proposed that construction of the school will begin in 2014 and the first stage will cater for 230 secondary students.
These important milestones in the continued growth of the Highfields community, located just north of Toowoomba, highlight the strong future growth forecasts for the area.
A recent Urban Economics market review of Highfields describes it as an expanding and evolving community characterised by strong growth rates, young establishing families and high levels of workforce participation.
Urban Economics estimates that the average population growth in the total catchment area between 2011 and 2012 was 2.73%, resulting in a population of approximately 19,600 persons in 6,565 households by 2012.
Between 2012 and 2021, it is projected that the total Highfields catchment area will increase by approximately 7,200 persons or more than 700 persons per annum.
In order to meet the current and future needs of the Highfields population, local private developer Lauder Pty Ltd has commenced construction of an expansion of the Highfields Village Shopping Centre. This includes a new full-line Woolworths supermarket and the addition of a fast food precinct and a possible petrol outlet.
Lauder, the developer of the Highfields residential community, is investing $7 million in the shopping centre redevelopment, while Woolworths is undertaking a $6 million upgrade and expansion of its existing store by 1,200sq m to create a new full-line, fully-branded Woolworths supermarket totaling 3,830sq m.
A new 460sq m free-standing building has been added to the centre, adjacent to the existing McDonalds, to increase the centre’s takeaway food offering. Civic Video and Eagle Boys Pizza have relocated to larger premises in this building, which also houses new retailers Crackerjack Chicken and Abra Kebab and a children’s play area.
A new Petrol Plus outlet is also proposed to open on a stand-alone pad site near the expanded Woolworths.
A reconfigured car park will provide extra spaces and improved access and the centre will also receive landscaping and signage upgrades.
The new Highfields Village fast food precinct opened in June, with the expanded Woolworths store expected to be completed by December.
Mac Stirling, Managing Director of Lauder, said Highfields continues to come of age as a vibrant and diverse stand-alone community, underpinned by its strong future growth forecasts.
“Plans for the shopping centre expansion have been underway for over three years, and recent market research conducted by Urban Economics showed that local customers are seeking greater shopping variety and offerings in terms of convenient food options,” Mr Stirling said.
“The expansion demonstrates our strong confidence in the future growth of Highfields and the wider Toowoomba economy. We have seen firsthand the rapid growth of the Highfields community and identified the opportunity and development upside in providing the diverse retail offering desired by local residents.”
Highfields Village opened in 2003 and forms the Town Centre for the local Highfields community, which continues to enjoy continued growth highlighted by the recent expansion of the Home Hardware store on an adjoining 2,000sq m parcel of land.
Designed by PDT Architects, Highfields Village is focused on providing community-based convenience, based on its Woolworths supermarket and services, including medical centre, Terry White Pharmacy, a modern dental practice and QML Pathology.
DMA Partners was engaged by Lauder as Development and Project Managers for the redevelopment of the centre and managed the structuring, financing, design management and leasing of the expansion program.
Ryan Andersen, Director of DMA Partners, said securing a strong valuation was fundamental to the successful financing and delivery of the Highfields Village redevelopment.
“At a time when many retail developers are struggling with this type of expansion, scared off by low valuations and limited retailer interest, Lauder capitalised on the untapped value in the centre and leveraged it to successfully finance the expansion,” he said.
Lauder Pty Ltd have appointed DMA Partners and Stephen Bowers of Novus Urban Pty Ltd to undertake the infill leasing of Highfields Village as part of the redevelopment program. Ryan Andersen successfully negotiated the new lease with Woolworths for further 20-year term.
Mr Stirling said the new-look Highfields Village will provide local residents with greater access to a variety of food and lifestyle amenities.
“On completion of the redevelopment, Highfields Village will be home to a total of 20 specialty retailers,” he said. “There are some great leasing opportunities within the precinct, which will further enhance what is already a well-established convenient shopping destination of choice in the local community.”
The redeveloped Highfields Village will also feature the latest in environmental and sustainability practices, with existing tenants also encouraged to reduce energy and water usage.
“We are committed to improving energy efficiencies and introducing environmental and sustainable measures at Highfields Village,” Mr Stirling said.
“We have successfully applied for a Queensland Government ClimateSmart Business Cluster Program to assist businesses in the centre to become more energy efficient and reduce their operating costs.”
Lauder is a family owned and managed residential and retail development company, founded by John and Jill Stirling, long-term residents of the Darling Downs.