My recent visit to Roselands will be the basis of this week’s post. Like Eastgardens, Roselands is out of the way. There is no train station nearby, so public transport is limited to buses. The similarity with Eastgardens does not end there, as some bus routes are not as regularly serviced. Like Eastgardens, the bus stop is adjacent to the mall. However, it’s clear that last week’s focus is larger and more complete than this centre, which is owned by Vicinity Centres. The group maintains such developments as DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) in Homebush, Bankstown Central, and part-owns the massive Chadstone Shopping Centre in Victoria. I recall the first time I visited this mall, in 2017. It was midwinter and the weather was freezing. Even with my down jacket, the wind gusts felt Baltic out there. When I called last week, the weather bucked the winter trend as it was sunny.
Roselands opened in 1965. For years, the mall was the biggest in the southern hemisphere, although it is relatively minor by today’s merits. The centre currently has 61,417 square metres of retail floor space. Roselands also had the country’s first food court. The centre has hosted bigwigs such as Sinatra and Roger Moore. While many bus routes were diverted to include the mall, the centre was made for the automobile. This accounts for its distance to the railway. The mall also boasted a large Grace Bros. department store (rebranded as Myer). Furthermore, Roselands also included a cinema. In 2015, Roselands celebrated fifty years. Tenants would come and go over the years. When I first visited Roselands, it had a few anchors: Myer, Food for Less, Coles, and Target, plus JB HiFi. Food for Less has since been converted to Woolworths. I recall browsing at the Jeanswest store, a brand that used to be ubiquitous but has gradually been diminished.
Last year, the mall underwent a considerable expansion, adding a basement level. Fresh food and produce, dining, grocers, and entertainment were the priority. The basement’s additions included a new Aldi, a refurbished Woolies, The Reject Shop, a chemist, among others. The lower ground level featured a quintet of novel specialty areas, offering a disparate range of new produce. I read that three years ago, Vicinity was to give the mall a $650 million makeover. Apparently, it would add a new fashion block, together with both national and foreign labels, a Kmart, a multiplex, and an enhanced Myer. The additions would have annexed a further 34,500 square metres of floor area. However, they could not get the latter to sign on to the deal, paving the way for the more conservative, $90 million upgrade.
I’ve been here a few times since my first visit. Last year, I was able to purchase a replacement microwave. I also bought a tower fan here. In January, I got an air fryer on sale from Target. I’m sure I haven’t been back since summer. Since then, a few shops have closed and there are more empty stores. The mall has a retro feel that betrays its age. The food court is adequate, although more recent developments (more on them later) would create a void. At the moment, there is a Subway, wrap place, Turkish stop, sushi fix, burger option, Chinese takeaway, and a fish and chips shop. There is also a doughnut stand nearby.
For this trip, I decided to start off with Strandbags. I had a look around the store and their backpack range, before unearthing this grey pack. It was a lightweight with four compartments and two side pockets. At better than half-price, I decided to grab it. I then had a look at Best & Less. The prices were quite competitive, but they had plenty of stock left. Now is not the time to panic-buy. I then spent time at Myer. Here, I spotted a tee that I bought at Bondi in November of last year. The price I paid for the summer item was a rip-off compared to the one there. I doubt though that you could access that low price in season. The Myer scenario in Roselands was hardly any different than that at Eastgardens. Compounding the lack of foot traffic was the closure of the top floor, the designated clearance floor. Apparently, the new Myer CEO wasn’t a fan of the clearance mindset.
I strolled around Target, where I found the same $10 tee I bought at Eastgardens. The rack was brimming with unsold clearance pieces. Their bag range wasn’t very gaudy, their caps were overpriced. They still had a lot of in-season socks. With the chain getting phased out soon, you wonder if they’ll introduce summer socks. I went to the food court and was surprised to see both McDonald’s and KFC closed. Their website lists both options as ‘temporarily closed’, yet another two victims of COVID-19. With people using their cars less, the shopping and dining precincts would suffer. If even stores in the city centre would fold, spare a thought for those in Roselands. I ended up buying subpar Turkish food that made me appreciate burgers more.
After this, I headed to the basement level and looked around. I bought some items from the fruit shop. I then surveyed The Reject Shop. I quickly deduced that the Eastgardens branch had better variety than this one. By the time I checked out, the other store was already closed. This conflicted with their trading hours listed at the entrance. I went to Aldi to do the groceries. Compared with other Aldi’s, it was laid out differently. Then it was time to go. The biggest shortcoming in Roselands’ line-up is the lack of Kmart. This is where the bigger redevelopment would’ve helped. The ‘temporary’ closures of key fast food outlets are also concerning. However, the centre offers more than enough if you’re there to do the groceries and some shopping.