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Opportunities for Growth in Box Hill
New Retail Opportunities: Box Hill’s point of difference is CHOICE. The somewhat fragmented central retail core provides a unique retail experience where shoppers can experience a mix of environments and choose between the traditional shopping strip, a separate open-air pedestrianized mall, and the large shopping centre format of Centro Box Hill (North and South).Whilst it is important to retain choice, there is an opportunity to improve connectivity and amenity within the wider retail area. Activation of blank walls of the existing shopping centres through glazing, additional entries and new active shops that address adjoining retail areas, would improve the flow of people from one area to another and enhance the look and feel of the centre.
Asian-themed Centre: Box Hill is evolving into an Asian-themed specialty retail centre, which is highly visible through the multicultural fresh food market, Asian specialty stores and services and array of Asian flavoured restaurants and cafes. This has attracted a larger-than-normal retail catchment and presents an opportunity to develop the Asian-theme to align with this trend.The introduction of new compatible anchors, smaller/additional tenancies, later evening opening hours and building on the popular fresh food and market themes could be explored.
Market Town: In addition to Box Hill’s popular pedestrian mall, aptly named Market Street and Main Street, there are also a number of laneways in the retail core which present an opportunity to build on the market town and Asian themes of Box Hill, through inclusion of hawker-style traders and regular market events.
Retail Expansion: The City of Whitehorse Retail Strategy (MacroPlan 2010) identifies that Box Hill has the potential to expand the current retail floor space by around 7,700 square meters. There are a number of vacant or under-utilised, retail-zoned, land parcels within the central retail area of Box Hill, including 545 Station Street and 8 Prospect Street. This provides an opportunity to expand Box Hill’s retail area to the east and west. There is also an opportunity to extend the retail area by increasing the height of existing buildings. Extending the retail area would create opportunities to introduce new retail anchors, new entertainment attractors and improve variety.
Night Economy and Entertainment: Despite Box Hill’s restaurants and eateries bustling into the evening, currently the night economy in Box Hill is limited, particularly around entertainment. This presents a significant opportunity through the introduction of a major entertainment anchor such as a specialty cinema, ice skating rink or regular evening market that draws crowds and evening activity to the retail center.In addition, there is an opportunity for a hotel or short-term residential accommodation, with function facilities, within the Box Hill Central Activities Area to accommodate visiting business and government staff/cliental, hospital visitors and interstate/overseas visitors.
New Office Anchor: The vast majority of office development in Box Hill was constructed in the 1980s and as a result the quality of office stock has deteriorated. Whilst there are low vacancy rates, construction of new office development is currently not occurring. A new office building, with government or private anchor tenant, could be the necessary catalyst to stimulate new private investment in office development and attract additional employment and business activity to Box Hill.
World-class transport: Whilst Box Hill is well serviced by public transport, the infrastructure such as the transport interchange, is old and outdated.There is an opportunity to redevelop the current Box Hill Transport Interchange (which currently sits below and above Centro Box Hill Shopping Centre) improving access, comfort and amenity. The foundation already exists for Box Hill to be a demonstration of a world-class public transport interchange that is fully integrated with a shopping center and business district. Box Hill can look to a number of successful examples of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) throughout the world, including the redevelopment of Sydney’s Bondi Junction in recent times.
Bridging the Physical Divide of Whitehorse Road: Whitehorse Road is currently structured as an urban highway on an east-west alignment running directly through the center of Box Hill dividing it in two separate parts. Whitehorse Road is a significant barrier for activity within Box Hill, particularly the north-south movements of pedestrians, cyclists and local traffic.Redevelopment of Whitehorse Road as an urban boulevard, provides an opportunity to give priority to PEOPLE (as opposed to through-traffic) accessing Box Hill on foot, by bicycle, public transport or car and would improve access, safety, amenity and increase activity within Box Hill.