By Colin MacGillivray
THE developer behind plans for a petrol station and retail lot in Wallan has revealed more about the proposal, including potential retail tenants for the site.
Earlier this month the Review reported a planning permit application lodged with Mitchell Shire Council to build five retail premises along with a petrol station and attached convenience store on land at 156 High Street, 143-149 Bentinck Street and 151-155 Bentinck Street.
The permit application also flagged future plans for a residential development on the eastern edge of the site along Bentinck Street.
Project manager Anthony Millicer from developer McMullin Property said 7-Eleven had been locked in to run the petrol station and convenience store, while McMullin was in discussions with several prospective retail tenants.
“In terms of the large-format retail, we’ve got a pet goods retailer, we’ve got packaged liquor, we’ve got an auto parts store and a variety store, and one of the five is still open for offers,” he said.
“We’re pretty happy with the mix of tenants. They’re all quality established businesses, which is really good.
“I think they’ll bring a good balance to what Wallan needs in the area, and all our prospective tenants are excited about the development.”
Mr Millicer said the group spent about 18 months on the plans, working closely with council in the process.
“Like with all things in planning, there’s a balance between what the council wants and what’s commercially viable. I think we’ve struck a reasonable agreement on what we’re doing there,” he said.
“The area right outside the site is a grassy road reserve with some trees on it, but a couple of the trees … are large, quite old pine trees and they’ve been severely pruned around the power cables. They’re really not attractive at all and they’re not indigenous species.
“As part of improving the whole entrance to the Wallan township as you come in from the north, we’ve proposed as part of the development to do extensive landscaping through the area, which is not even on our title – it’s effectively the road reserve.
“The intention of that is to assist with council’s aspirations for this site being a gateway site as you come in from the north.”
Mr Millicer said he was confident council would approve the application for the retail premises and petrol station, but that McMullin would continue to work its future application for residential lots along Bentinck Street.
He said he believed residential lots were appropriate for the area but required land rezoning by council.
“Whilst the aspirations for council were that the whole site was a commercial development, we thought that it could be a little bit problematic having a commercial development on Bentinck Street fronting the other residential side,” he said.
“Commercial development needs very flat land for big buildings and there’s quite a bit of a slope on the site, so what we’ve ended up doing is cutting in from High Street and creating retaining walls at the back of that lot, which enables us to set residential townhouses at the correct height for Bentinck Street, so they’re not built up or set down. They can interface with the current street level.
“If we were to have made the centre bigger and had the whole site operating from High Street, then we might have ended up with a blank wall fronting Bentinck, or we might have ended up with a lot of truck traffic coming in from Bentinck.”
Mr Millicer said the proposed development struck a good balance between functionality and aesthetic and that he believed it would be embraced by the people of Wallan.
“McMullin is a long-established developer of quality projects, so people in the town can rest assured we’re going to build a high-quality development that will look good and be well run,” he said.
“There are examples of these types of large-format retail … that are more of an industrial flavour where they put a simple precast box up and it’s pretty lean and mean, whereas we’ve put quite a lot of effort into this one to make it a really attractive development.
“I’m hopeful on that basis that we’ll get some support.”