Shops close to make way for kids area

Friday marked the end of an era for one of St Marys Shopping Village's most popular businesses — Jac's Cafe served its last cuppa at the centre after nine years.

It's one of six businesses that didn't have their leases renewed to make way for a new play area.

The last of the affected businesses closes this week.

Cafe owner Mark Constantine is disappointed about not staying but doesn't hold any grudges.

"We'd built up a good clientele and it was a meeting place for older customers," he said.

"We'd sell between 800 and 1000 coffees a week which was good, considering we were competing with Gloria Jean's and Michele's.

"My wife was in tears and we were on a downer for weeks when we first found out the lease wasn't being renewed but it may be a good thing that we're going out on our own.

"I think the centre will be the loser in the long run."

The cafe will reopen in Queen Street next week under a new name.

"We're sorry to leave the centre but we're excited about building up new customers and friendships," he said.

"There's a fear of the unknown but we're looking forward to more quality and a bigger variety of stores coming to Queen Street."

St Marys Shopping Village Centre manager Anthony Hammon said the new children's play area would be open by Easter.

It's been described as a backyard treehouse with slides and climbing equipment.

He declined to comment about the leases not being renewed but said several new businesses would move in.

"Our focus has always been about improving amenities for St Marys Shopping Village customers," he said.

ST MARYS Shopping Village has a vision to expand, led by owners Mirvac who approached Penrith Council last year with a proposal to expand the centre.

It's estimated the project would have a capital value of $80 million to $120 million resulting in 1000 new jobs. Mirvac will need to buy council-owned land to proceed, said a spokeswoman for the council. "Economic, traffic and stormwater studies would need to be undertaken first," she said. "These are being finalised and will be reported to the council shortly. It's likely a masterplan will focus on a redeveloped centre with the Queen Street retail and commercial strip."

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