23 March 2021

Aldi store on cards in second Koko Molonglo supermarket

| Ian Bushnell
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Proposed supermarket site at Koko Molonglo

An artist’s impression of the proposed supermarket site at Koko Molonglo. Images: Oztal Architects.

After years lacking in services, Wright in the Molonglo Valley looks set to get two national brand supermarkets in the one development.

PK Nominees (ACT) has unveiled plans for a second 1500 square metre supermarket as part of Stage 2 of its Koko Molonglo development on the corner of John Gorton Drive and Steve Irwin Way.

It also may sound the death knell for any chance of a supermarket in the nearby and empty Coombs shops.

Under construction, the first stage was approved early last year and included a Woolworths Metro store, usually a small format operation but the development application allowed for a 1500sqm supermarket.

The new plans for Lease G on the southern Gornall Street side, also proposes a 1500sqm supermarket which looks likely to be an Aldi store if the supermarket’s slogan on one of the drawings is any guide.

The proposal is now out for public consultation ahead of the development application.

While the neighbouring Stage One is a multi-storey mixed-use development containing apartments and commercial tenancies including the Woolworths Metro, the second supermarket project next door will be a single-level building that the proponent says will provide relief in scale and open space.

“The proposed built form has been designed to open up into the open space and have a direct vehicular and pedestrian connection to the internal road and path network,” the project website says.

The development is connected to multiple subterranean levels including parking, via stairs, lift and a covered travelator, and also connects to the Stage 1 residential units via a bridge.

It also integrates with lower-level commercial tenancies facing Gornall Street which were approved as part of Stage 1.

The website says part of the masterplan’s aim was to create a plaza/communal open space within Lease G.

“The landscape is integrated with the building allowing the public and residents a space to meet and utilise,” it says.

“The landscape design combines various elements such as raised planters/seating and a mixture of planting types and turf. The landscape provides screening, shade and allows soft landscaping zones for the public’s amenity and interest.”

Molonglo Valley Community Forum spokesperson Ryan Hemsley said a two-supermarket centre in Wright would take a lot of pressure of Cooleman Court in Weston which has been bearing the brunt of parking and traffic pressures.

But it also puts a cloud over the future of the Coombs shops across John Gorton Drive

“It does throw a question mark over over the viability of the Coombs shops site given it’s limited to 1000sqm, presuming this Koko proposal is within the planning legislation requirements,” Mr Hemsley said.

Planning Minister Mick Gentleman said in a letter to the Forum that there had been no change in the Coombs shops situation.

“I share the frustration of Coombs residents that the shopping centre owner has been unable or unwilling to tenant the shops,” he said.

“It is disappointing that the commercial property owner appears unable to deliver services to your growing community.”

The government had tried to purchase the site but the owners’ asking price was too high.

Mr Hemsley urged residents to participate in the Koko consultation saying the more public input the better a development usually is.

The proponent will conduct a virtual information session on Thursday, 25 March from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

To learn more and register go to the project website.

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