THE stars have aligned for work to begin on the Orion Shopping Centre's $154 million second stage.
Mirvac's Orion Centre opened with much fanfare more than five years ago and the promise then was that stage two of the project would start in just a few years.
A downturn in the economy played against the centre and future development was put on hold as some tenants struggled to survive.
An influx of more residents into the growth corridor, the completion of the Springfield Central rail line and new road links have all contributed to re-energising Orion.
Another key factor for Mirvac signing off on the new stage was the commitment by Events Cinemas to build a 2000-seat complex featuring eight screens, two of which will be gold class.
Centre manager at Orion Springfield Central, Melanie Hodge, said the vision for Orion was for it to be a true "town centre" destination not just a great shopping centre.
"To succeed, Orion will also offer more vibrant entertainment, leisure and cultural experiences that deliver a truly engaging environment for our growing community," she said.
"Research shows our shoppers want this."
Stage two, scheduled to be open by December 2015, will see 80 additional specialty shops as well as major retailers Coles and Target.
More restaurants will also be built in the precinct.
The open town-centre style that is a feature of Orion will flow through to stage two.
The second stage also spells great news for jobseekers.
On the employment front the project will create 1200 jobs during and post development for both the retail sector and construction industries.
Orion opened on March 14, 2007, with 40,000 cramming into the centre on day one to taste-test the 100-plus specialty shops along with Big W and Woolworths.
While it was packed in the opening weeks, the crowds tapered off over the next few years. A mini department store and family tavern are on the plans for stage two.
Other companies did show their faith in the area with Masters investing along with major retailers such as Aldi, Amart, Petbarn, Supercheap, Hogs Breath and Pet Barn.
ORION STAGE TWO FACTS
On completion of this next stage of development, Orion will be the ninth largest shopping centre in Queensland.
A new 2000-seat, nine-screen Events Cinema complex with two gold class and two Vmax screens - the largest in the region.
Target - in its large format store.
1200 additional car parks with improved access and more undercover parking.
Completion of the construction and opening targeted for December 2015.
Construction work will be mostly to the side of the existing centre and is planned to minimise impacts to customers and retailers.
The centre will continue to trade as usual during development works.
The expansion will take the centre from 37,175sq m to 68,720sq m (almost doubling with an increase of 31,545 sqm).
A new supermarket - Coles in its large format store - and about 80 extra specialty stores.
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