A $4 ½ million Coles Super K Mart complex will be built in Shepparton.
Shepparton City Council last night approved the project in principle after being told the development company had secured options on about 12 properties in the area bounded by Maude, Rowe, Corio and Ashenden Sts.
The 10 800 sq m variety and food store is expected to employ 100 more people than now employed by G J Co Ltd in Shepparton.
The development company is working towards a 1985 completion date.
Parking will be provided for about 500 cars.
Managing director of the development company, Bencore (Aust) Pty Ltd, Mr John Benetti, said the store would be as big as any K Mart store in regional Victoria.
Mr Benetti said he spent five months negotiating with owners of the residential and factory properties for purchase options.
Speaking after addressing a City Council committee in private, Mr Benetti said Coles Co Ltd wanted to move in and start operations by October 1985.
However, Mr Benetti’s company still has to negotiate with the Gas and Fuel Corporation for the purchase of one of the larger tracts of land on the site.
The company’s negotiations have been complicated by the interest of the Victorian Law Department in the Gas and Fuel Corporation land for a possible courthouse police station complex.
“I can now go back to the Attorney General and say that City Council has resolved to issue a permit if we can get the Gas and Fuel site,” Mr Benetti said.
He will also be speaking with the Minister for Economic Development and the Minister for Planning this week.
Mr Benetti said he would be returning to Melbourne today with a copy of last night’s council resolution.
He spent 40 minutes discussing the project and a site plan with the council committee.
The only advance indication to the council was a letter on the agenda from Mr Benetti, stating: “As negotiations concerning a substantial development planned for the Shepparton commercial business district have reached a critical stage, we request the opportunity to address council other than in open council.”
Council decided to support the project in principle, agreed to the partial closure of Vaughan St and set up a sub-committee of the Mayor, Cr Bill Hunter and Cr Kevin Riordan to confer with the developer.
Council also wants discussion with Coles on the future of the supermarket and variety stores in the city.
Shepparton real estate, Mr Ellis Gough – who has been assisting Mr Benetti with the negotiations – described the project as the biggest retail development in the central business district.
“We investigated many potential areas but this was the only site which could adhere to the Minister of Planning’s requirements for a modern supermarket adjacent to the central business district,” he said.
Speaking after last night’s meeting the Mayor said the development would provide about 160 jobs and fitted neatly into the council’s planning requirements.