A new large scale Woolworths owned hardware store is under construction in Springfield Central.
A new large scale Woolworths owned hardware store is under construction in Springfield Central. David Nielsen

Project Oxygen a DIY dream

SPRINGFIELD’S enormous home-improvement store, Project Oxygen, is half way through construction, but the owners refuse to name a completion date to avoid “ruining the surprise”.

Project Oxygen Springfield is a $15.6 million project that now dominates the Springfield Central eye line.

The 12,500sq m Springfield store will be one of the first “big box” stores to be built in Australia in a joint venture between Woolworths and US venture partner Lowes.

Its finish date will spark the beginning of Ipswich’s DIY wars which will see four home-improvement centres built in the region within the next three years.

The Queensland Times understands the site will be opened in late August or early September.

But a Woolworths’ spokesman said the details of the Ikea-styled home improvement store were top secret.

“We are keeping an element of surprise about it because all the stores will open at the same time,” the spokesman said.

“You don’t want to give away the ending of the movie.

“Construction is progressing well and our store in Springfield will be among the first of our new home-improvement stores in Australia to open in the second half of 2011.

“While we want to maintain an element of surprise, we believe our home-improvement offer will be unique and will raise the standard in terms of range, service and value for people looking to improve their homes.

“Between 130 and 150 new jobs will be created in the store itself, with many more created in construction and flow-on benefits to the economy.”

In 2014 there will likely be five large hardware stores in Ipswich, a giant leap from the city’s sole Bunnings in Booval.

Woolworths is planning to build another two home-improvement warehouses in the city to complement its Springfield site.

Bunnings is building a two-storey centre in West Ipswich to complement its Booval store.

Ipswich City Council’s Planning and Development chairman Paul Tully said having five home- improvement warehouses within Ipswich would see people travel west from Brisbane to shop for the first time.

“This is a real boom for the city and it will see many people from Brisbane travel out here to shop for the day,” Cr Tully said.

“Since Riverlink was built we have halved the retail expenditure lost from Ipswich, and this will help that figure immensely.

“Woolworths has advanced plans for another two stores within several kilometres of the CBD and we are just waiting for an application from them.”

The hardware sector is worth $24 billion nationally.

Woolworths plans to secure more than 150 store sites within the next five years.

However, small-business owners like Stafford Hardware’s Bob Bell have expressed concern that the big brands will force them to close.

The project is being built by McNab.

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