This week, I’m going to write about Westfield’s flagship store in the heart of Sydney. The current iteration is quite new, having only been constructed in 2010. The centre is part of Pitt St Mall, the pedestrian shopping mall known for having some of the highest leases in the world. I must admit that I was planning to outline Pitt St Mall, but one post isn’t enough for the profile. Westfield (WF) Sydney has five anchor tenants, including Myer, JB HiFi, Microsoft Store, and Zara. The latter two are flagship stores. The edifice sits underneath Sydney Tower and borders both Glasshouse and MidCity Centre (beside Myer).
Westfield: a history
WF Sydney is on land that previously belonged to four other centres: Westfield Centrepoint, Skygarden, Imperial Arcade, and Sydney Central Plaza. The oldest of the four was Imperial Arcade, which dated back to 1891. A prominent Sydney architect designed the arcade. Demolished in 1961, this was rebuilt by Stockland and opened in October 1965. This marked the company’s first Sydney CBD (central business district) redevelopment project. The building was comprised of four shopping levels and office space above. Sydney’s flagship Angus & Robertson bookstore was the mall’s crowning glory. Westfield Group purchased it for ninety million dollars in 2004.
Meanwhile, Centrepoint opened with 52 stores in 1972. Further refurbishments followed in the eighties, nineties, and the last coming in 2000. Once again, Westfield bought the structure in December of 2001, later renaming it as Westfield Centrepoint. At its peak, the building housed over 140 stores and had skybridge connections to David Jones and Myer. There was likewise a link to Imperial Arcade. On the other hand, Skygarden opened in 1988, featuring seven retail levels together with a food court housed in situ. Westfield purchased this in 2004.
Sydney Central Plaza is the most recent one of the four, opening in 1998. It features two retail levels below Myer’s flagship store. The Westfield Group secured the retail precinct in 2003. Myer had purchased the old Farmer and Co. department store in 1961. The redevelopment commenced on 4 July 2009 on a $930-million budget. Centrepoint, Imperial Arcade, and Skygarden were merged into WF Sydney. The Plaza was reimagined as an appendage of WF Sydney. In two openings between 2010-11, WF Sydney was unveiled to the world. The centre currently houses 288 stores across six levels of retail and restaurants. This makes it one of the newest (and glitziest) WFs around
At the heart of Sydney
This WF has 91,699 square metres of retail space, making it the largest mall in Sydney’s CBD. As mentioned, the centre has six levels. The Tommy Hilfiger store at the ground level is a recent addition. I bought a long sleeve polo there last year. They used to have a GAP store, where I bought a plain orange jumper at half price. I also purchased this charcoal Henley and a tote bag before they closed down. Recently, I collected two items from Cotton On: a slub Henley tee in peach colour and a long sleeve tee in oxblood red. I nabbed the latter at sixty percent off.
The strategic location is what separates this edifice from the rest of its cousins. There are no other WFs located in the Sydney CBD. Moreover, no mall in Sydney offers a six-level Myer. The centre is proximate to all modes of public transport. The buses are closest, with most services stopping at the adjoining streets: Castlereagh or Elizabeth. The tram is only a couple minutes’ walk from the QVB (Queen Victoria Building) stop. The train is a little farther along but both Martin Place and Town Hall stations are within walking distance.
Over the years, I had a lot of cheap finds at the seven-storey Myer. The cargo short from Country Road was probably the best. From the original price of almost ninety bucks, it was down to thirty-seven. Since I had two $20 gift cards, I still had change while not parting with any cash. I’ve also detailed before how I got this brand-new G-Star pair for two bucks. Once, I bought a striped Henley tee at $20. Since I had a $20 gift card, I essentially paid nothing. I still use that top during summer. Have I mentioned that I got this MacBook Air from them? In late January of 2019, we purchased this at the CBD store with ten percent off.
Whatever your taste, WF Sydney has you covered. If you’re male and out for new kicks, there’s Hype DC and Platypus for the casual vibe. R.M. Williams or Timberland are the go-to’s for boots and be sure to drop by Aquila and Windsor Smith for dress shoes. Looking for new duds? ‘Sigh no more’ as there are options galore. Whether it’s Jag or Superdry, Sportscraft or Oxford, wander along these corridors and you’ll shop up a storm. Eyewear upgrade? No worries! Specsavers and Sunglass Hut have got you covered. Indeed, yesterday I collected my glasses from the former. In need of accessories? Easy. There’s a Herschel store, an Oroton spot, and a Nike retailer under one roof.
‘Feeling peckish?’ I thought you’d never ask. Head below Myer for a kaleidoscope of cuisines. Gozleme? Check. Fast food? Check. Asian takeaway? Sandwiches? Drinks? To paraphrase the saying, to perceive is to believe. They also have a posher second food court on level five. While there is some overlap between the two dining areas, expect to pay more while munching on those dumplings. The takeaway shops are doing well but business for the smaller retailers is not so rosy. The high-end mall is home to both national and international brands, bourgeoisie to designer labels. What’s more, this WF also has a pharmacy, where they can meet your health needs.
Wanderlust in the big city
Whether you’re new to Sydney, a local, or a wanderer, checking out WF Sydney wouldn’t hurt. As outlined, the centre is one of the most accessible in the metro area. If you happen to be in the city anyway, this shopping haven wants some moments with you. The food and drink options will make you dizzy. There are brands you’ll love: new and established, fancy and old school. There’s almost no reason to discover a new land within your cityscape, much like how Christopher Columbus chanced upon the New World.