Our Story

retailplan was founded in 2013 to fill a niche in the retail development market for informed and workable feasibility designs

It all started when retailplan‘s founding directors were with Tompkins, Shaw and Evans Pty Ltd Architects in the 1980’s. TS+E was one of Melbourne’s pioneer Architectural firms whose retail work commenced with the design for the Myer Bourke and Lonsdale Street Department stores in the early 20th Century and grew through Australia’s many retail evolutions to the retail environment we know today.

A major milestone, of course, was in the early 1960’s with the construction of Australia’s first Regional Shopping Centre, an outdoor centre designed firmly on Victor Gruen’s original Urban Design principles, at Chadstone in Melbourne’s East. Chadstone was soon followed by Northland, Eastland, Southland and Westland (now known as Highpoint) to name a few.

In the 1980′s and 90′s Melbourne’s population increased at a dramatic rate and new housing estates in Melbourne’s East created a strong demand for additional shopping facilities. Then came the sub regionals, Fountain Gate, Brandon Park and Parkmore and Cranbourne Shopping Centres on which Eoin and James played a key role.

In addition to these new centres major extensions were required to the then ageing early centres. Chadstone and Eastland both appointed one of the world’s leading retail firms, Los Angeles based RTKL, to lead the design teams for redevelopment. So commenced a long and productive relationship with RTKL and other leading international Architects, among them Altoon and Porter, Callison and Leo A Daly.

Over the past two decades the community generally has shown an increased appreciation and desire for good architecture and Retail Developers have also seen the advantage of having a design that is well considered and award winning.

To that end retailplan‘s directors have also worked in association with a number of leading Australian Architectural firms. Some of these firms include The Buchan Group, NH Architects, ARM, PDT, Daryl Jackson, Cox Sanderson, Bates Smart and Grimshaw. Many years of working in this way has highlighted the importance and the benefits of being able to collaborate in a non-competitive way to achieve great outcomes.

James managed the Melbourne office of Hames Sharley, while Eoin spent time as an Associate Director with the Architectural practice Architectus who have offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

For the past 20 years, James has been principal of Chebais Consulting, a business specialising in management consulting relating to retail developments. Clients have included the Gandel Group, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, novion, CPA and the Perron Group, as well as KIPT in New Zealand and the Shining Group in Taiwan.