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May 16, 2022

Work to start on Byron Bay shopping mall

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An artist's impression of the approach to the new Mercato shopping mall in Byron Bay. Work is slated to start on the development next week.
An artist’s impression of the approach to the new Mercato shopping mall in Byron Bay. Work is slated to start on the development next week.

Chris Dobney

Shops at the southern end of the ageing Byron Plaza precinct will begin to be demolished next week in the lead-up to the construction of the Bay’s first shopping mall, Mercato on Byron, in the new year.

The controversial project, which will involve exposing potentially radioactive sands during the construction stage, and which exceeds the height limit set for Byron Bay’s CBD, has nevertheless got the go-ahead from Byron Shire Council and the thumbs up from Greens mayor Simon Richardson.

A centrally located roof feature will provide natural light and ventilation, contributing to the centre’s five green-star rating, which is a first for regional Australia.

This and a range of other sustainability initiatives were the result of ongoing consultations between council and the developer, Azzura Corporation, and led to it being described as ‘the most environmentally friendly retail development in regional New South Wales.’

At the time mayor Richardson said the negotiations had avoided ‘making Byron Bay look like Surfers Paradise’, adding that the outcome was ‘the best we can get within the parameters.’

During the planning phase the council also inserted a novel feature in the consent that will attempt to prevent major multinational fast food chains opening up there.

Revamped cinemas

Construction will be timed to avoid the busy holiday period so that the centre’s existing tenants, including the Palace Cinemas, can make the most of the summer season.

A spokesperson said the cinemas will be absent for Byron Bay ‘from nine to 12 months’ while demolition and construction takes place.

But Palace will return to the site once construction is complete, in a much-expanded nine-cinema complex.

Palace Cinemas’ CEO, Benjamin Zeccola, confirmed Palace would return, together with extended versions of its international film festivals.

‘While we’re saddened by the temporary closure of Palace Byron Bay, we look forward to offering our customers the broadest choice of films possible in a comfortable, stylish and sustainably built cinema’, he said.

‘As well as mainstream, art-house and family films, we will continue the popular program of alternate content: theatre, operas and ballets from the foremost companies in the world, including Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre, and concert events from the biggest names in show business such as Eric Clapton and The Who’, Mr Zeccola added.

Other tenants at the new site will include: Woolworths, which will move from its existing store; Byron Bay’s Fresh Café operator Markus Hofer, who will run an organic takeaway from a ground-floor store: together with prominent local photographer Craig Parry, who will open a gallery upstairs.

An artist's impression of the upstairs interior of the new Mercato mall in Byron Bay.
An artist’s impression of the upstairs interior of the new Mercato mall in Byron Bay.


Developers say the demolition of shops at the rear of the site ‘will trigger a significant recycling project, with 80 percent of the material to be reused.’

‘Mortar will be crushed and used as road base and timber posts and roof timbers will be incorporated in the new building when construction begins next February.’

Azzura also cites a range of other sustainable design features contributing to the centre’s five-star Greenstar design rating, representing ‘Australian best practice’.

They include: use of natural light and ventilation; charging facilities for electric vehicles; grey water harvesting and re-use; sustainable building materials (eg plantation timber); solar electricity generation (adding to the 100 solar cells already in place); end-of-trip facilities for bicycle users; UV filtration on air conditioning (resulting in better air quality and energy efficiency); and waste management protocols.



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  1. Please don’t call it Mercato on Byron!!!
    Can we have something more interesting/
    I would feel like an absolute dick saying that
    The development might be heading in the
    Right direction with a green rating but that
    Name reeks of total knobbery!(pardon the
    Repetitive references to said private parts)
    But can we get some suggestions happening!

    • Yes, Mercato just reeks of the Gold Coast developer, doesn’t it. How about “Byron Central Plaza” or something. Boring I know, but localised and meaningful…

  2. And will Cicchettis still be there????!!!
    We need fine dining in the Bay. No more hamburger & take away joints!!
    And agreed, don’t call it Mercato – so fake.
    I’m sure we can come up with something quirky and original…

  3. That’s def better. How about the hub/Byron centralie/the byronian plaza/…hmmm
    Come on folks this is serious.
    Another erosion to the feel of Byron.
    Come on Simon step up and help.

  4. CAVANBAH Plaza could be better or even if it is something simple like Jonson St Plaza is more appropriate than the bullcrap name mercato. ..Please. ….

  5. Ho hum.
    Well, at least the Beamers, Audis and Mercs have been replaced by a couple bombed out old Vw’s in the new promo photo.
    The main question I have is: will it be paid parking?

  6. Oh jno its not getting up this shopping mall in byron is offically fucked. I thought byron and surrounds was about the outdoors …people leave the cities a shopping paradise to come to byron to do. More shopping … Weird this has gold coast all over it. Has sole written all over this

  7. Merkin on Jonson, sounds like a great name for a mall that is prostituting itself as the Cavill avenue of the northern rivers.

  8. This is B.S. these developers and the designers have no fuc’n idea about the culture and vibe energy of Byron Bay area and the cultural Aboriginal significance of the whole area is not even considered or respected..

    I say protest!! Before they can get this thing happening, go to the Byron Major… The design B.S


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