TENANTS GONE: A cursory look at Goondoon St, Gladstone’s main street, and it’s not hard to see just how many showrooms are vacant.
TENANTS GONE: A cursory look at Goondoon St, Gladstone’s main street, and it’s not hard to see just how many showrooms are vacant. Rosie O'Brien

Gladstone's business centre empties out

IN just two adjoining streets in Gladstone's CBD there are more than 11 commercial buildings currently empty, and more are expected to be vacated.

The manager of local clothing store Exclusively Lealeigh, Debbie Cornish, said their shop space would be just another vacant lot at the Valley.

"We decided to move from Boyne to the Valley to drum up a bit of business in town, but after two months we're moving back," she said.

"The rent was $1306 per week at a casual rate and $9000 a month permanent."

Not being able to attract the right clientele, unaffordable rent and location is a common cause for local shop owners to shut up shop.

There are now 144 commercial properties in Gladstone for sale and lease according to realcommercial.com.au.

Raine and Horne Gladstone's commercial and industrial sales agent Darryl Branthwaite said he thought that figure wasn't quite accurate, but said the market was slow.

"I'm not denying that at the moment there aren't a lot of empty spaces, but (that number) could be double ups of multiple agents on one property," he said.

"A lot have gone from construction-based leasing into a more operational sense and because it's quiet a lot of people are down sizing."

While Mr Branthwaite said it had been a busy start to the year, but the high vacancy rate was expected to continue for some time yet.

"Three to four years ago businesses were grabbing whatever they could, and there was a reasonable amount of spots for office and admin, but now with such a large amount they can be more selective," he said.

"We've got the supply - now we just need the demand."

And it does look like there is much on the way.

"We're currently in contract negotiations with a clothing shop," he said.

"Retail has had a pretty rough time in 2014 and the main concern is clients wondering what the Gladstone landscape will look like in one year."

Goondoon St does have the advantage of older buildings. Mr Branthwaite said this was exactly what potential occupants were looking for.

"New buildings have premium pricing because they have been constructed in today's market and the fees associated with them are high, but the older buildings have space and appeal," he said.

"A lot of centrally situated buildings are currently being painted to freshen things up and because of their 20 to 30-year age they can offer reduced rates and 500 to 600sq m of space."

FOR SALE:

  • A search from realcommercial.com.au shows that there are currently 144 commercial properties in Gladstone for sale and lease.
  • Ray White Gladstone has 35 for lease and 17 for sale in the Gladstone area
  • Elders Gladstone has eight for sale and 0 for lease
  • L J Hooker has 18 commercial properties for sale and 44 for lease
  • Century 21 has one business for sale and 0 for lease
  • Raine and Horne has three for sale and eight for lease

*According to their websites



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