The Broadway Shopping Centre is currently one of the most
successful Shopping Centres in Australia*, currently receiving over 11.1
million visitors per annum.
The Broadway Shopping Centre, originally the landmark Grace Bros
department store building on Broadway, was built in 1904. The building
was redeveloped in 1998 by the Walker Corporation and currently has
three levels of retail space including Coles, Bi Lo, Kmart, Hoyts, Rebel
Sport, Freedom, Harvey Norman, Harris Farm, a Medical Centre and over
125 specialty stores.
The Centre's expansion is in line with local population growth, which is
forecast to grow by 11% over the next six years, and retail spending,
which is forecast to grow at five to six per cent per annum for the next
The expansion of the Centre will include a new level, Level Three, being
added to the Centre together with three additional car parking levels.
The new level will include Target and 30 specialty stores.
Broadway’s new level is planned to be completed in early 2007.
* Ranked No 1 for annual total centre turnover
psm, when compared to the top 80 Regional Shopping Centres (Shopping
Centre News, March 2005)
Grace Bros was an Australian retail chain that
was bought by Coles Myer in 1983. There were 25 stores across NSW and
the ACT, until they were re-branded under the Myer name in 2004.
Grace Bros had a long and rich history of retailing in Sydney following
its founding by the Grace brothers, Albert Edward and Joseph Neal Grace,
in 1885. The two brothers migrated from England in the 1880’s and sold
goods door-to-door. In 1885, they opened their first small shop in
George St City and by 1906, they had opened a five story building at
Broadway (now the site of the Broadway Shopping Centre, Sydney). In
1931, Joseph Neal Grace died and Albert Grace became Managing Director
of Grace Bros Ltd. Prior to his death in 1938, Albert Grace planned
suburban expansion of the Grace Bros stores from the City, a move which
is considered the reason Grace Bros survived when many of their
contemporaries perished such as Anthony Hordern’s and Mark Foys. Isabel
Grace died in 1970 at age of 86 years.
Sydney's major Grace Bros was located on Broadway. Through several
different stores at varied locations in the city, the store first came
to Bay St in 1904. Subsequent additions and property purchases over the
years culminated in the existing buildings being completed in 1923.
Grace Bros boasted a store with, among many features, "three and a half
acres of furniture"! The Grace auditorium dominated the social life of
Sydney with dances, fashion parades, children's events displays and
pantomimes held within it. 1954 saw the Royal Visit of Queen Elizabeth
II with the Broadway stores extensively decorated. However, the center
of Sydney shopping gradually moved from Broadway into the current CBD
around Market and Pitt Sts, and Grace Bros vacated the Broadway store in
1992. The building was resurrected as a multi-million dollar retail and
cinema complex in 1998.
The Grace Building
In 1926, the Grace Brothers, Albert Edward and Joseph Neal Grace,
purchased a block of land on the corner of York, Clarence and King
streets in Sydney, on which they would build the "Grace Building", the
jewel in the crown of their retail empire. They believed the site was
perfectly positioned for the building they planned would become "The
Showpiece of the Company", with new public transport routes and the
coming Sydney Harbour Bridge turning York and Clarence Streets in the
major city thoroughfares. Company letterhead even showed the building as
being "…on the Harbour Bridge Highway." Grace Bros. opened the Grace
building in the city centre in 1930 believing when the Sydney Harbour
Bridge was opened that York and Clarence Streets would be the city's
main thoroughfares. Broadway had been affected by the shift of the
city's commercial district toward Circular Quay and the changing public
transport routes away from Sydney's South end, and so the Grace Building
was to be the company's saviour. In 1943 Australia was at war and the
Grace Building was requisitioned under national security regulations by
the Federal Government for use as headquarters by the Supreme Commander
of allied forces in the south-west Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur.
In 1995, the Grace Building was purchased by Kuala Lumpur based Low Yat
Group for adaptive reuse as a 382 room hotel, opening in 1997.
In 1965, Australia's first suburban shopping centre opened at Roselands at
a then cost $15 million. The centrepiece was a large Grace Bros
department store. However at 4.30pm on 13 June 1969, a huge fire broke
out on the 4th floor of the Grace Bros section of Roselands. Fire
brigades from all over Sydney attended the huge blaze which caused
thousands of dollars worth of damage before it was brought under
control. Suburban stores were subsequently opened at Hurstville,
Miranda, Parramatta, Penrith, Bondi Junction, Burwood, Blacktown, Castle
Hill, Hornsby (opened 1980), Liverpool, Carlingford, Chatswood,
Macquarie and Warringah. Regional stores were opened in Dubbo, Orange,
Wollongong, Charlston, Erina, and Wagga Wagga. Some of the stores that
have closed include Goulburn (closed 1995), Ulladaulla, Nowra (closed
2003), Tamworth (closed 2003), Cooma, Gordon, Maroubra Junction (became
the Good Buy Clearance Centre in the 90s, closed in 2002 prior to the
Maroubra Mall/Pacific Square redevelopment), Queanbeyan, Campbelltown,
Bairnsdale and Mt Druitt.
In 1983, Grace Bros bought Myer NSW, and then in July Myer acquired Grace
Bros Holdings Ltd. The Myer store on Market and Pitt Sts in Sydney
became the main Grace Bros store. In 1985, the company became a division
of the Coles-Myer corporation, and the Grace Bros stores effectively
merged with the 35 Victorian based Myers stores. In February 2004 a
marketing decision was made to rebrand all the stores as Myer stores.
This decision brought the name of the Myer chain into line around
Australia. It is thought that this was the largest and fastest
rebranding exercise in recent Australian retail history.
The Myer chain, of which Grace Bros is now but a part, has been considered
a burden upon other parts of the Coles-Myer corporation. In 2005, plans
were made to sell the chain, which may result in its breakup, or the
potential closure of underperforming stores.
Grace Bros Removals
Grace Bros Removals was established by Albert Edward and Joseph Neal Grace
in Sydney in 1911. It is known today as the Grace Removals Group.