18.9 C
Byron Shire
August 4, 2021

New Woollies opens today in Byron’s first ever shopping mall

Latest News

Youth arrested over Nimbin shooting

A 20-year-old has been charged over a shooting that took place in the middle of the day near the centre of Nimbin.

Other News

Two missing persons alerts on Northern Rivers

One of the cases is a woman who has been missing for more than a month.

Cartoon of the week – 4 August, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

The right decision

Magenta Appel-Pye, Mullumbimby I would like to say ‘congratulations!’ to musician Lisa Hunt, but really, for what? It was a relief...

Staged rollout change for large OS DA

Plans by a developer to change the staged rollout for a large Ocean Shores subdivision, and nine dwellings on 11 and 13 Warrambool Rd and 9 Bian Crt, Ocean Shores, are now on exhibition on Council’s website.

Border bubble zone bursts thanks to COVID-19 cases in QLD

Anyone in NSW who has been in one or more of eleven particular Queensland local government areas since 21 July is required to stay at home for fourteen days from the date they were last in those areas, 'or until the notice is revoked', authorities said Monday.

Community disharmony

Jenny Shiels, Byron Bay I read Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox (21 July), and I agree there is disharmony in communities worldwide. Yes,...

Paul Bibby

For two years, locals have watched Byron’s first shopping mall gradually emerge from the previously irradiated sands at the southern end of Jonson Street.

Finally, after multiple delays and extended debates over the building’s size, height and character, we are finally going to see what all the fuss was about.

The much trumpeted ‘Mercato on Byron’ will open its doors to the public this month, providing answers to questions about the impact on local traffic and the local retail sector.

Locals will get their first look at the centre today (Wednesday) when the new Woolworths store opens its doors.

Byron Chamber of Commerce president Todd Sotheren says, ‘My view is that it’s going to give that end of town a little bit of a lift which the existing retailers could do with, bringing a bit of extra foot traffic’.

An artists impression of how the new Mercato on Byron shopping mall is meant to look when completed. Image supplied.

‘A big part of the mix is going to be food, which is a big draw to our town all the time. Plus it’s great to have our cinemas back after three years.’

Covering 7,895 sqm, the two-storey centre will include a nine-theatre Palace Cinema complex, a ‘new and improved’ Woolworths, and a mix of specialist shops and eateries.

There will also be a double-level, 321-vehicle underground carpark directly beneath the shopping and entertainment area.

Green aims

The centre’s developers have promised that Mercato will be the first regional shopping centre to achieve a five-green-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, though they are now saying the centre will ‘aim’ to achieve this goal rather than actually achieve it. 

The marketing company hired to promote the opening have proudly trumpeted the arrival of ‘more than 30 new speciality shops’.

These include Bed, Bath and Table, Livelife Pharmacy, Otto Kebabs, Bay Sushi, Beef and Beach Byron Bay and Crispy Fried Chicken.

Rockpool Dining Group is also opening a 250-seat Tex-Mex restaurant called El Camino Cantina.

But there remains a question mark over whether retailers have really been crawling over each other to get a spot in the centre.

Thirty per cent of the available retail spaces have yet to be filled according to the centre’s marketing manager. This is almost exactly the same proportion as when The Echo enquired in June last year.

The restaurant space of 170sqm2 outside the cinema’s entrance is still vacant, as are a number of smaller tenancies of approximately 60sqm2 located on the upper level.

The owners of the centre have remained tight-lipped about the cost of leasing a space in the centre. 

They declined to comment on rumours that some retailers were offered lower rents in return for a share of their takings once the doors opened.

Nevertheless, the agents responsible for leasing the space, and Mr Sotheren, remain optimistic.

‘I find it hard to believe that there’s a demand-side issue,’ Mr Sotheren says.

He is also upbeat about the impact on other businesses in the CBD.

Generate demand 

‘I’m always amazed by Byron’s ability to generate demand,’ he said.

‘We had three wine bars open just before Christmas, and they were all full-as-a-boot the whole time. I think it builds a bit of a movement when you’ve got multiple players entering the market.’

Locals will soon be able to decide for themselves whether the centre has lived up to its promise.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. ‘We had three wine bars open just before Christmas, and they were all full-as-a-boot the whole time.’

    Was that the bars or their patrons?

  2. Three wine bars opened just before Christans, all full-as-a-boot, eh? The bars or the tourists? Says it all really. Reinforces why it’s over 4 years since I’ve been to Byron centre. Mullum for me!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NSW Parliament off for a month, with full pay

With COVID-19 cases surging across Sydney and defence forces being deployed in the city, NSW Parliament put out a brief statement last week saying MPs will not sit in the month of August ‘owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in NSW’.

Markets could return to Byron’s Butler St Reserve

Byron’s weekly farmers’ market may return to its traditional home in Butler Street Reserve after detailed soil testing found that the park was less contaminated than was feared.

Push to create transitional accommodation at Lot 22

Should the Council-owned plot of land in Mullumbimby, known as Lot 22, be used for temporary accommodation for those at risk of homelessness, as a matter of urgency?

Sticking to facts

Roger Cotgreave, Byron Bay Thanks to The Echo for reporting scientific facts around the pandemic and not relying on social media ‘research’. Also a big thanks...