Home World Business John Gandel builds a Lego empire

John Gandel builds a Lego empire


Long before a man-sized lego man burst through the brick wall it was clear this event was no normal property world ribbon cut. 

Yes with that gesture, the nation’s biggest shopping centre, Chadstone, now has the nation’s first Lego Discovery Centre. In fact it’s the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

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Lego miniature Melbourne opens at Chadstone

A new Lego Discovery Centre has opened in Melbourne, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

It’s 2800 square metres of pure pester power complete with two million bricks and ride with laser tag style blunderbusses – CBD wishes that word could be used more often in this column.

On hand for the event was John Gandel who – as joint owner of the sprawling Shopopolis – knows a thing or two about bricks.

Tourism Minister John Eren told the crowd he was looking forward to piling back into them having raised five kids and with three grandkids now approaching prime lego age.

But he did flag one reservation evoking a moment many parents could relate to – stepping barefooted on your child’s lego left strewn on the floor.

It is what the minister described as a “pleasurable pain”. 

One for the kids

Like the late Whitney Houston, CBD believes the children are the future.

The former home of Arnotts biscuits is undergoing significant change. The former home of Arnotts biscuits is undergoing significant change. Photo: Louise Kennerley

So let’s hear it from the kids, or at least some young fogies.

The Young Liberal Movement of Australia is the country’s self-described “largest centre-right youth movement, bringing together thousands of young people”.

Illustration: John Shakespeare Illustration: John Shakespeare 

It is not amused by government debt of $487.5 billion and rising.

But its solution to the budget mess has an olde world feel to it. 

Yes, its solution is axing that pesky Student Services and Amenities Fee on university students – or as it calls, that “great big Student Tax”.

“More than $429 million has been taken from university students since the Student Tax was implemented in 2012 and funnelled to student unions and guilds,” the Young Liberal Movement of Australia said in its pre-budget submission. 

It’s enough to make humble backbencher Tony Abbott proud. 

Anyone there?

Times always seem tough for a telco, but for Optus, it’s even more pertinent when the former head of corporate communications takes to social media to make a complaint.

Posting on his LinkedIn account, Stephen Woodhill, turned the tables on his former employer to have a bleat about his internet connection.

No doubt they are the sort of complaints he probably batted off during his tenure at the Macquarie Park, Sydney HQ.

“So how sad is this – Optus, a former employer and a company I love, just does not seem to be able to fix my internet,” he opines.

“Two long calls about my internet service and no one has any idea when it will be fixed. But I did get a text this morning saying it was fixed … but it wasn’t. School holidays and a long weekend and no internet!!!

“Wouldn’t be so bad if this did not happen so regularly!”

He added: “Still the people in the call centre were very polite – I guess I can be thankful for something!”

To be fair he has updated with, “So credit where credit’s due – I finally have my Optus internet back again – thank you Optus. Not sure my little tantrum on social media was the reason, but it just may be!”

Bikkies to beer

The former home of Arnotts biscuits, where Tim Tams, Iced VoVos and Tiny Teddies were first made, is undergoing significant change and could soon see a brewery on site.

Listed funds manager BlackWall has spent $1.6 million to gain full management control over the $270 million urban business precinct.

This is timely, according to the BlackWall chief Stuart Brown, as it gives the group control over the planning and implementation of the next phase of development at the site, which has seen many changes over its long history.

According to BlackWall head of property Jess Glew, the owners are looking for interesting one-off uses for areas of the site, which could be a distillery or microbrewery.

That may have been handy for the Arnotts shareholders to drown their sorrows when they lost the bitter battle with the US Campbells group in 1993.


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