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No start date set for Westfield Knox $450m upgrade work

IT HAS been 18 months since a $450 million upgrade was approved for Westfield Knox, but there is still no start date on construction.

The work was due to be completed by next year but Westfield spokeswoman Julia Clarke told Leader the project remained in pre-development, with upgrade designs being done.

She said it was not unusual for big upgrades to have a delayed start.

"We got our approval (from Knox Council) in December 2014, so it’s never immediate after getting approval to start works," Ms Clarke said.

"It’s not uncommon for it to take up to 12 months, sometimes more than 12 months, to get work under way."

She said there was a lot of work going on in the background on the project.

When asked if construction would start this year, Ms Clarke said she there was nothing slated in the short-term.

She said there had been some "ambience" upgrades at Knox Ozone such as new furnishings and lighting.

The Wantirna South centre is set to expand from 142,500sq m to 188,500sq m — putting it on a par with the sprawling Chadstone, which is the nation’s biggest shopping centre at 190,000sq m.

Knox Council’s director of city development Angelo Kourambas said as part of Westfield’s planning permit, development must start by November 26 next year.

Mr Kourambas said it was understood Westfield was working with relevant State Government authorities, including VicRoads, Public Transport Victoria and Melbourne Water, on amended plans to satisfy permit conditions.

He said it was not known when plans would be submitted to the council.

But he said they weren’t worried that work hadn’t started.

Knox Library will be relocated from the centre to a temporary tenancy within Knox Ozone to make way for the redevelopment.

Mr Kourambas said once centre redevelopment timelines were known, the council and Westfield would look at the library relocation.

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