‘Back to the land’ retail revolution coming to Walloon

The growing popularity of small, community-focused retail centres built around fresh, local produce and social interactivity has provided the inspiration for a new retail hub to be built at the recently launched Waterlea community at Walloon near Ipswich.

The design for the Waterlea retail hub was inspired by increasingly popular destinations such as Hawthorne Garage in Brisbane’s east and The Farm at Byron Bay. These carefully planned hubs create a focal point for the immediate community and promote a healthy lifestyle through selective acceptance of retailers and vendors that promote the overall vision.

Waterlea’s hub will incorporate a thriving, living organic market featuring fresh produce from across the local region, plus the daily needs of a grocery store all on the backdrop of a natural waterway setting within a shady, village ambience.

The Waterlea hub will be a place where residents catch up and share a coffee, a bistro style meal or a drink from morning to evening; the location will also feature live acoustic music performances.

The overall vision for Waterlea – shaped by a ‘back to the land’ spirit – means the retail hub will be surrounded by central parklands, chains of ponds and flowing creeks and offer a range of organic, affordable food options for the 4,500 residents that will call the community home when it is finished.

Waterlea Walloon Development Manager Andrew Cook said the goal was to create a shopping and social destination that set a new benchmark for masterplanned communities in Ipswich, and to “promote a model for change” for masterplanned communities.

“It is important that the retail centre in Waterlea reflects the forward-thinking design behind the rest of the community which is all about supporting an active, healthy lifestyle in the Queensland sunshine,” he said.

“Thinking ‘green’ and providing fresh produce to residents encourages healthy living while benefiting farmers, local businesses, the local community, and the environment.

Mr Cook said Waterlea’s retail precinct would not just be about shopping, but facilitate social interaction and community building while enhancing the distinct village character and amenity.

“The retail centre will serve as a community gathering place and employment hub with a range of jobs for locals during construction and once it is fully operational.”

Mr Cook added the Waterlea sales office would be transformed into a retail space upon completion of the project.

The established nearby town of Walloon will provide Waterlea residents with a larger retail support base with existing medical facilities including doctors and pharmacies, education facilities, beauty hubs and larger retail stores.

Construction on Walloon’s retail hub is expected to begin in 2017 to 2018 pending formal development approvals by Ipswich City Council.

The $350 million, 1,500-lot masterplanned community was launched on November 4 and has now sold more than 90 lots.

Waterlea is being marketed by leading property services group Oliver Hume.

Oliver Hume Joint Managing Director Queensland Brinton Keath said the high demand at Waterlea reinforced recent research showing the Ipswich growth corridor was one of the fastest growing regions in Queensland.

“We don’t see the demand for land dissipating any time soon with future stages of Waterlea experiencing strong interest due to its affordability and location,” he said.

The first precinct of Waterlea Walloon, consisting of 300 homes, will be complete by the end of next year, with the next 1,200 lots to be rolled out over the next five years.

Waterlea is located on Rohl Rd, Walloon, and is open for inspection daily from 10am-5pm.