The countdown is on to the opening of Westfield Plenty Valley’s dining and entertainment precinct next month.
The Mill Park shopping centre expects to open its $80 million expansion, which includes Village Cinemas and 13 restaurants, towards the end of March.
Scentre Group regional centre manager Charlie Rimmer said the dining and entertainment precinct would make it easier for families to enjoy a meal and movie together close to home.
“It means they are not going to have to travel too far,” he said. “They can come and spend time with their family in a relaxed, casual environment and enjoy a great movie and have a beautiful meal together.
“We think the benefit is actually keeping families together.”
The precinct, which has been designed around a red gum tree on the site, will feature a YMCA wellness studio that will also provide occasional care for up to 30 children, a children’s playground, water fountain and event stage.
There will also be a range of new retailers, as well as outlets such as the first Italian Street Kitchen in Victoria, TunzaFun, Ena Greek Street Food and Pancake Parlour.
“We went out to the [community] through Facebook to ask what sort of restaurants they wanted to see here,” Mr Rimmer said. “We are asking the people what they want and giving it to them.” He said about 30 per cent of responses mentioned Pancake Parlour.
Italian Street Kitchen’s Sam Hasim said the company chose Plenty Valley for its first Victorian restaurant because it wanted to provide local dining options for families.
Mr Hasim grew up in Mill Park.
He remembers that there were few places for his family to enjoy a meal together and watch a movie.
Village Cinemas chief operating officer Gino Munari said the Plenty Valley cinemas would be Village’s first full-concept cinema complex, offering Gold Class, Vmax, Vpremium and Vjunior under one roof.