Shops below apartments in Sydney
‘a ﬂawed model’
13 March 2016
New apartments tower with retail shops on the ground floor have not
worked well in Sydney, according to Chris Johnson, CEO of lobby group,
Urban Taskforce Australia.
Mr Johnson said most of these shops sat vacant for long periods of time
because their suburban locations did not have big enough populations
and foot traffic to support them.
“Town planners and local councils like developers to activate the
ground floor, usually with retail, but it’s a flawed model because
Sydney is not Paris,” he told The Australian Financial Review.
A search of online listings by the Financial Review revealed more than
100 shops available for lease in development hotspots such as Zetland
and Waterloo, many of them shops at the foot of new apartment towers.
Retail vacancies also remain stubbornly high on key suburban strips
such as Oxford Street in Paddington (more than 30 shops for lease) and
Military Road, Neutral Bay and Mosman (more than 25 shops).
Mr Johnson said true mixed-use developments were a better solution,
pointing to a completed project such as East Village in Zetland by
“East Village has a whole Coles supermarket on the ground floor
surrounded by lots of shops and outlets. Above it is a gym and
commercial space, with a sky park on top and then five or six stories
“We did a tour through there recently and it was absolutely humming,” he said.
In Brisbane, a similar scenario of vacant shops below apartment towers
was occurring, said Cameron Taudevin, director of retail leasing of JLL.
“In many of the new apartment towers, the retail has been poorly
planned with small boutique spaces and no available parking for
shoppers,” he said.
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