THE $33 million redevelopment project of Centro Lavington was officially opened yesterday by the Albury Mayor, Cr Arthur Frauenfelder, with a special performance by the Lavington East Public School choir.
The project has added 3485sq m to the centre and provided about 400 full-time and part-time jobs.
Work began in July, 2004, and consisted of the construction of Aldi, Best & Less, The Reject Shop and 20 other specialty stores.
It also included the refurbishment of Big W, an expanded and refurbished Safeway, and the introduction of Fresh Life and Diners Life precincts.
Centre manager Helen Wellard said a 300-plus seat food court, deck and undercover car parking as well as Fresh Life and Diners Life precincts were the major components of the upgrade.
Fresh Life and Diners Life areas would gather all shops falling under that banner in the one area.
Ms Wellard said the centre has only one site yet to be filled.
The centre’s national development manager, Sandra Schilling, said the upgrade had transformed the centre from a convenience-based centre to the most outstanding retail shopping centre in Albury-Wodonga.
She said the company saw the economy in Albury-Wodonga as very strong.
Albury group Zauner Constructions secured a $22 million contract, and employed up to 120 people for the majority of the work.
Managing director of the company Garry Zauner said the work was completed late last year on budget and on time, despite the complexity of doing the upgrades while the centre remained open.
“It’s been extremely challenging,” Mr Zauner said.
“But this is a very significant project for Albury-Wodonga.
“It will help cement Lavington as another CBD of Albury.”
Centro development manager Roger Cory said the company would continue to look at expanding its centres in the area.
He said that Centro Birallee would be the most likely option for further development.
He said several free-standing shops were to be developed next to Centro Lavington pending council approval.