Former Curtis Island contractor takes a punt on Gladstone

WHEN you take a stroll down the town's main drag it's easy to understand why there is a negative atmosphere around the commercial property market in Gladstone.

At present real estate website Realcommercial.com.au has 120 and 153 commercial properties up for sale and lease within Gladstone.

But you hardly need raw facts when the main focal point of so many shopfronts are the 'For Lease' signs stuck on windows.

According to real estate researchers Herron Todd White, commercial or retail tenancies that have been hit the hardest in the recent downturn fall within "secondary locations" that have an older style of building and poor access to parking.

The report named Goondoon St, Tank St and Toolooa St as areas where demand for tenancies has weakened significantly, with increased vacancies and reduced rental levels.

But this is only one side of the story --- there is, of course, a much more positive side to the commercial market in Gladstone.

Ray White's Andrew Allen said areas on Hanson Rd, The Valley end of Goondoon St and the Stockland shopping centre were areas where he received a lot of interest for.

Although Mr Allen said the streets singled out by the Herron Todd White report were still popular locations because they were affordable, commercial properties that offered high levels of foot traffic, easy access and the marketing pull of a big shopping centre like Stockland were what retailers preferred.

"By Gladstone's standards there is a lot of commercial places to lease but comparatively, it's nothing like Bundaberg and Rockhampton," Mr Allen said.

"There is soft demand in the CBD but new businesses are starting up."

This week Sherriff Electrical Wholesalers manager Patrick Morgan signed on the bottom line to lease an industrial property on Beckinsale St, which is just off Hanson Rd.

When the construction boom kicked off Mr Morgan moved his young family up from Brisbane to Gladstone to head CMMS Australia's operations on Curtis Island but instead of cutting and running as things got more difficult, Mr Morgan says he plans to stay for good.

NEW FOCUS: Patrick Morgan came for the boom but has decided to expand his business and stay in Gladstone. Photo Declan Cooley / The Observer
NEW FOCUS: Patrick Morgan came for the boom but has decided to expand his business and stay in Gladstone. Photo Declan Cooley / The Observer Declan Cooley

"We've got a lot of work to do but I hope to start something and bring that positivity and work with local businesses to get that positivity and bring this town back," Mr Morgan said.

"We have the capabilities to service industry from domestic, commercial, to industrial [with electrical components], but our focus will be on the electrical contractor."

But it's not all about work for Mr Morgan, one of the biggest reasons he wants to stay is because he sees Gladstone as a great place to live and raise his family.

"My wife is a teacher at Kin Kora and my daughter is in her prep year and my four-year-old son is at Rainbow Valley so we've got involved in the community and we feel the community has accepted us," he said. "Gladstone is home."

Mr Morgan said he was able to negotiate a very good lease for the 720 square metre property on Beckinsale St and after his company pours in $150,000 he should be up and running by June.

"Plenty of opportunity for business here you've just got to kick some stones and find them," he said.

WHERE'S HOT ANd WHERE'S NOT

Goondoon St, Tank St, Toolooa St: Demand for tenancies has increased vacancies and reduced rental levels in these areas.

Hanson Rd, The Valley and Stockland shopping centre have their own benefits; including easy access, high levels of foot traffic and simple marking pull.



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