23 January 2024

Plans for supermarkets, pubs and cabins in Wagga's north, but who will open the first cafe?

| Chris Roe
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artist's impression of a supermarket

Coles has submitted a DA for a supermarket at Boorooma. Image: Coles.

After years in the retail wilderness, Wagga’s northern suburbs are on track for a shopping boom, with supermarket Coles the latest to submit plans to set up across the Gobba Bridge.

Coles acquired the Boorooma site from the Catholic Diocese of Wagga in May last year and lodged a development application on Friday (19 January).

“The proposal seeks consent for the construction, fitout and operation of a retail development comprising Coles Supermarket (including Liquorland liquor shop),” the application declared.

“The proposal will provide a modern supermarket and liquor shop for the local community as well as increase employment opportunities and economic activity in Boorooma.”

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According to the plans, the new supermarket and bottle-o would sit adjacent to Phar Lap Pl below the current row of shops that include Chemist Warehouse and Domino’s Pizza.

Construction is also underway on the corner of Phar Lap Pl and Messenger Ave for a servo, with the tanks in the ground and work progressing steadily.

With two neighbouring shopping centres in Estella and Boorooma, northern Wagga residents are already able to buy groceries, alchohol, pharmaceuticals and pizza as well as work out at Snap Fitness without crossing the bridge.

Surprisingly, we are yet to see a cafe open in either centre; however, Region understands that the team behind a popular southside cafe remains on track to open in Estella and another experienced local operator will soon be grinding coffee in Boorooma.

While several stores remain vacant, Splash Laundrette will soon settle in to help residents stay on top of the washing.

plans for a hotel

Plans for a three-level Estella Hotel. Image: Estella Hotel Holdings Unit Trust.

Plans are also afoot for the first new pub in Wagga to be built since the Sir Thomas Blamey Tavern was opened at Lake Albert in 1982.

Wagga hotel mogul Sean O’Hara is one of those behind a resubmitted plan for a $10 million mega pub in Estella on the hill overlooking the new shopping centre.

Estella Hotel Holdings Unit Trust first submitted plans in March last year before the council knocked them back, citing a lack of clarity.

The revised plan for 77 Avocet Dr was submitted in December, detailing the plans for a “hotel/pub complex including sports bar and bottleshop”.

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The proposal promises “a strong focus on a family-friendly environment, contemporary food & dining experience, and recreation/entertainment activities”.

“The proposal will involve 3 levels of building construction including various bars, bistro, lounge and gaming areas, drive-thru bottle shop, function rooms, balcony/terrace areas and associated amenities and storage rooms.”

On the other side of the hill, near the booming Gobbagombalin housing development, the original residence, Magpies Nest, is looking to expand into boutique accommodation.

The proposed development “seeks to construct tourist and visitor accommodation on the heritage listed site to complement the existing restaurant”, and comprises 10 cottages and motel accommodation.

Ariel view of pub

The Red Steer Hotel sold for $10 million in 2022 but sits abandoned. Photo: HTL.

Meanwhile, on the way to Bomen, the old Red Steer Hotel and Motel is mouldering away on Cartwrights Hill.

The property sold for about $10 million back in May 2022 and little appears to have happened since.

No doubt the gaming entitlements that came with the sale have been put to good use elsewhere, but the 5000-square-metre block, 13-room motel, refurbished bars, bistro and beer garden are yet to be utilised.

Stay tuned.

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