WORK will begin within a week on the long-awaited expansion of the Murray Bridge Green shopping centre.
Several heritage houses along Swanport Road will be demolished to make way for a two-storey car park and major shopping complex.
The expanded centre will include a Coles supermarket - relocated from Mannum Road - plus a Target twice as large as the existing department store and a range of specialty shops.
Construction is expected to be completed by mid-2015 and shops fitted out and ready to trade by next spring.
The project gained development approval in December when the Murray Bridge council development assessment panel agreed to a compromise that would allow the heritage houses to be demolished.
An image of the houses' facades will be depicted on a screen on the side of the new development.
The developers were also asked to address issues to do with stormwater, traffic management, car parking and the upgrade of Riverview Road.
At a meeting of Murray Bridge Green retailers on Wednesday, Leedwell Property's John Savva said the development was turning a corner.
"This is a real growth corridor for South Australia," he said.
"Investors believe the government is providing the right environment for Murray Bridge to expand.
"We've all been through some rough times, but we're through the worst of that and the future looks promising for us all."
The developers also planned to give the Woolworths supermarket a $400,000 facelift.
Mr Savva said Woolworths would stay at Murray Bridge Green until its five-year lease expired, and that another supermarket had been lined up to replace it, if necessary, after the agreement expires.
In the longer term, he said the developers and the council would consider closing Riverview Road, connecting the two halves of the shopping complex and linking Verdun Road to Adelaide Road to improve access for trucks and shoppers.
Neville Gotch, father of sports store owner David, was glad to see the centre progressing at long last.
"You talk to people and they say it's a pie in the sky thing, but now it's progress," he said.
"Hopefully it stops Murray Bridge (shoppers) going to Mount Barker."
The centre's current owners purchased it from Centro in 2010 and a series of improvements have been planned ever since.
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