Is the stand-alone supermarket consigned to history?

Is the stand-alone supermarket consigned to history?
Mark BaljakOctober 10, 2014

A supermarket at the base of a high-density residential or mixed-use development is nothing particularly new; the database has many an example allowing for full line venues in inner-city growth areas such as Fishermans Bend and the like.

However a trend that continues to be borne out is the push of large retail/supermarket chains adding value to their land allotments by inserting apartments above their intended future outlet. The highest profile exponent of this in recent times was Woolworths who successfully gained planning approval for 101 Canning Street, North Melbourne.

Is the stand-alone supermarket consigned to history?
Aerial perspective of Woolworths' Canning Street development. Image courtesy Buchan

The permitted scheme sees a mixed-use retail, residential and office development principally consisting of 300 residential apartments over two towers. Woolworths promptly sold off the site upon approval while maintaining the right to operate a full line supermarket of 4400m² should the scheme materialise.

Another large inner-city development sees Coles Group Property's existing Richmond Plaza at 271 Bridge Road, Richmond subject to an approved, SJB-designed redevelopment plan which would include 333 apartments located above a revamped Coles full line outlet. 12,000sqm or retail space and 573 car parking bays are also envisaged within the eclectic design as seen below.

Is the stand-alone supermarket consigned to history?
A new Richmond Plaza. Image © SJB

Apartments above supermarkets is almost a given within arms reach of Melbourne's CBD, but as the practice extends into middle ring suburbs it demonstrates that apartments/mixed-use developments are not solely the domain of property developers. As of mid this year Aldi Foods received in principle approval for an five level Aldi store topped with 34 dwellings.

Located at 313 Doncaster Road, Balwyn North, the five level structure over a 2,167sqm site looks likely to be the first taste of substantial higher density living for the suburb dominated by detached housing. Across town Coles Group Property have also instigated construction of 180 Gaffney Street, Coburg North which will feature a Coles outlet in addition to commercial office space and a medical centre.

Coles Group Property parent company Wesfarmers have further shown their propensity to value add to their intended developments, this time utilising Bunnings as an anchor for a large mixed-use development at 659-669 Doncaster Road, Doncaster. Architecture firm Hayball have designed the approved complex which would feature podium space carrying a 10,532sqm Bunnings outlet and 1,598sqm of retail space, in addition to 887 car parking bays and 385 apartments spread over three separate buildings above.

Is the stand-alone supermarket consigned to history?
The expected Bunnings Doncaster Hill. Image © Hayball

The trend reaches further with Mimmo Holdings Pty Ltd seeking approval for a mixed-use complex at 3-11 Mitchell Street, Doncaster East. A 2,378sqm supermarket, reception centre, 688sqm restaurant and 65 one and two-bed apartments round out the proposed development that once more seeks to set a height precedent in an otherwise low-rise area.


Whether it be opportunism, shifting with the times or a concerted push to diversify a business model, the practice of adding additional uses atop a traditional supermarket or the like is growing. Is it fair to assume that most future build supermarkets aside from those on the periphery of Melbourne will incorporate a degree of apartment living above? Most likely.

That chains such as Aldi and Coles are leading the charge shows how lucrative large tracts of land within metropolitan Melbourne have become.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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