Is there light at the end of the tunnel for Cleveland’s struggling business district?
The small Ross Court shopping centre in Cleveland is experiencing particularly difficult times, especially in light of the recent closure of Video Ezy. Four other shop premises are currently vacant.
Cleveland’s many shopping complexes are peppered with vacant spaces, few of which have been occupied by new retailers.
Local business operator Meryl Hawkins witnessed the closure of Video Ezy. She has identified that regular trade is not meeting rising overhead expenses, resulting in the demise of this DVD rental store.
“Cleveland’s becoming a ghost town,” Hawkins said outside her place of work in Ross Court.
“Times are tough, so we can’t afford to pay that kind of rent.”
Hopes pinned on population growth
Being the traditional business centre of Redland City, Cleveland is surrounded by other suburbs such as Capalaba and Victoria Point, both of which are home to multiple large shopping centres that have grown and developed over the past decade.
These areas house large chains such as Big W, Kmart, Target, Bunnings and Officeworks, who all have the advantage of scale to offer competitive prices. In doing so, they have absorbed trade from Cleveland’s regular shoppers.
Councillor for Cleveland and Stradbroke Island, Craig Ogilvie, acknowledges that Cleveland’s business scene is not what it was when he took office ten years ago. He maintains that Cleveland does see new business arrive but it is not given its due.
“There’s a lot of product… dwellings, duplexes, apartments, townhouses that are going to happen in Cleveland sooner or later,” the Councillor said when asked about future prosperity of Cleveland’s shopping district.
“A lot of land has been zoned for those purposes already.”
Population growth is set to be Cleveland’s future. With many 6-10 story developments approved, high concentrations of residents would increase business for shopping strips in Middle and Bloomfield streets.
Council has indicated that plans are in place for significant developments in Cleveland’s business district. Only time will tell if this will breathe new life into Cleveland’s empty shops.
By Kristopher Anderson
9 December 2014