A yawning gap will open in one part of Hamilton's city centre as another gap is plugged, with the opening of the revamped Centre Place shopping centre on October 17.
A new two-level Farmers department store will take pride of place in the $47 million retail development, also home to 30 other stores and a new five-screen Hoyts picture theatre complex.
But Centre Place's rebirth spells the death of the old Farmers store on Collingwood and Alexandra streets. It is a part of town that has endured many vacant stores and will face greater challenges with the departure of its biggest retail tenant and the associated foot traffic.
Farmers and the Kiwi Income Property Trust, which owns Centre Place, issued a joint announcement yesterday with many details on the brands, styles and range available in the flagship new store, but scant few on whether the full complement of staff at the current Collingwood St premises would make the transition up the road.
Also, the fate of the old store remains unknown. It will close on October 10, a week before the new store opens.
Farmers managing director Rod McDermott was unable to respond to Waikato Times inquiries yesterday.
The new 7000-square-metre Farmers store is tipped to be a major drawcard in attracting shoppers back into the central city and away from The Base at Te Rapa and Westfield Chartwell. Another attraction will be Metro, a new brand for the Hoyts cinemas featuring five digital cinemas.
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