Totem recall: Balgowlah shops letting public decide new name


Revelop, the new owners of the former Stockland Balgowlah Shopping Centre, are calling on community members for a new name.

“The centre is in need of a new name, and with so much public interest sparked in online discussions, Revelop thought it would be only fitting to have the community participate in the renaming of the centre,” a Revelop spokesperson said.

They have put forward four potential names (thankfully, Mally McMallFace didn’t make the cut) and community members can vote for their top pick and go into the running to nab a $1,000 [insert new name] shopping centre gift card.

The options are…Balgowlah Village, North Harbour Village, Totem Centre or Totem Villiage. There is also an ‘Other’ option if the above choices aren’t working for you (you’ll need to come up with your ‘other’ name).

Revelop's competition for a new name. Image supplied.
Revelop’s competition for a new name. Image supplied.

While, ‘Balgowlah’ is an aboriginal word for North Harbour, the reference to ‘Totem’ is due to historical reasons.

“The original name for the shopping centre back in the 1960s was Totem Shopping Centre. Originally named by its developers who adopted a US trend in totem style constructions for retail centres. The totems that stood at entrances on Condamine Street and Sydney Road were fabricated in fibre-glass and steel,” Revelop said.

When Manly Observer announced the sale on social media, there was a strong call to bring back ‘The Totem’.

To enter, you’ll need to provide your name, e-mail address and vote here:, with entries closing midnight Sunday 21 April.

“Once a new name has been chosen by majority vote, Revelop’s design team will work on the new logo and the new name will be announced by May 2024,” Revelop added.

In March this year, the centre was purchased for $155 million by REVELOP – an independent, private-owned property development firm founded by cousins Anthony El-Hazouri and Charbel Hazzouri.

Initially, locals were concerned that the new owners planned to redevelop the site and reduce operational costs. But the new co-owner Charbel Hazzouri assured the community that the centre will remain a village shopping hub.

He told Manly Observer they had no intention (or option) to turn the place into residential units (there are currently 240 apartments above the main shopping centre), and they simply want to improve on what’s already there.

Balgowlah Shopping Centre. Image supplied.
Balgowlah Shopping Centre. Image supplied.

“This is a great community shopping centre and there will be no redevelopment of the site, such as turning it into residential units,” Charbel Hazzouri said.

“We want to improve on what is already there. Make some changes to the interior and add in more food options.”

He said that customers want more fresh food options, similar to the popular Vietnamese takeaway shop, Roll’d.

Balgowlah Shopping Centre includes Coles and Harbord Growers Market, over seventy speciality shops and a Fitness First Platinum. According to Revelop, the centre attracts over 3.5 million customers annually.

Manly Observer
Avi Vince