Words // Greg Wood, Partner & Head of Knight Frank Cairns
It is interesting to follow the ebb and flow of both sentiment and market conditions with the challenges imposed on a regional area like Cairns given the difficulties due to Covid-19, particularly the serious ramifications to the tourism industry and visitor numbers. It follows that there is a lot of speculation around the sustainability of retail and hospitality venues, as the public tends to notice “For lease” signs more in a turbulent market than in a robust market.
The truth is sometimes lost in focused analysis in particular market sectors, but in reality there has been exceptionally good take up in both retail and bulky goods, reinforcing the stability in the region and a solid economic future with forward growth. Some of the box retailers that have recently leased space within Cairns and the northern beaches include Anaconda at Smithfield, and Baby Bunting and Sydney Tools in Cairns City to name a few.
More specifically, the addition of new retail tenancies within the Cairns CBD is of particular note in a broad range of operators. For example, we’re seeing the addition of a new Korean restaurant BBQ Boy on the corner of Spence and Grafton Streets, together with a new nightclub in Shields Street (Dirty Laundry), new restaurants on the Esplanade and Shields Street (Lemoncello, Copper and Pist4cchi) and a new operator of the Cape York Hotel, along with a number of smaller food retailers such as Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and more to open shortly, including Hello Harry Burgers.
Confidence has also been notable in the suburbs, with new bakeries and take away operators in Forest Gardens and refreshed uses in existing complexes such as the Civic Shopping Centre with a new owner at the sushi outlet and Just Devine Gelato near the Esplanade. More pleasingly, there are existing tenants revolving in their leases such as The Chamber Room and Piccolo Cucina in Village Lane. There has also been movement in sales of food orienteered complexes, such as the sale of Movenpick on the Esplanade and the KFC property in Smithfield.
It is great to see this level of confidence and established commitments to the retail and hospitality sector. We are aware of other larger projects nearing completion, which will add further confidence and a return to a more balanced market for everyone to enjoy. We encourage all to support these smaller ventures along with the larger retail operators, and would be pleased to assist anyone with their ongoing specific needs in the commercial, retail and industrial marketplace.
Connect // knightfrank.com.au/contact/cairns