THE tough world of retail leasing has been revealed in clear detail to Ipswich City Council as they struggle to find tenants for 24 shops in their Nicholas Street CBD project.
Getting someone to put their savings and sometimes their homes on the line to go into a business in an unproven site is always hard work.
Those who do take the risk soon realise just how much it costs to be a retailer and many have crashed and burned when the customers never arrived and the bills continued to mount.
A perfect example of gambling on a new shopping precinct before it created strong customer numbers is Orion Shopping Centre at Springfield.
When it opened on a greenfield site in 2007 almost every shop in the mall was taken up by optimistic owners.
They soon discovered that the passing trade wasn’t strong enough to keep the doors open and many folded under mounting debts.
It’s a far different story now with Orion booming on the back of huge growth figures in the nearby communities.
Providing incentives such as free $100,000 plus fit outs will help to lure some retailers into new centres, but even with that leg up they still need to pay their wages, product and utility costs each and every week.
The bottom-line here is that Ipswich Council, or for that matter any council, should not be playing in the retail world.
Cr Marnie Doyle who heads up the CBD rebuild program has gone on record to say that council will look to sell off the shopping precinct in a few years’ time.
Unfortunately, by that point ratepayers are at risk of paying out millions which will never be recovered.
New residents in Springfield, Ripley and other fast growing area are still wondering why the council is spending so much on a CBD they will rarely bother going to.
JOKE OF THE WEEK:
An Ipswich businessman was having an affair with an Italian woman for a few years. One night, during one of their rendezvous, she confided in him that she was pregnant.
Not wanting to ruin his marriage, he paid her a large sum of money if she would go to Italy to have the child.
To keep it discreet, he told her to mail him a postcard, and write “spaghetti” on the back when the baby arrived. He would then end money.
One day, about nine months later, he came home to his confused wife.
“Honey you received a strange postcard today.”
The wife handed the card over and watched as her husband read the card, turned white, and fainted.
On the card was written: “Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti. Two with meatballs, one without”
WINNER: Sarah Read from Collingwood Park wins a Limelight Cinema double pass for her joke.