By KIERAN FINNANE
As empty shopfronts proliferate in the Alice CBD, Mayor Damien Ryan, together with council CEO Rex Mooney, has met with business owners in Todd Mall to explore the possibility of pop up shops.
There was no further detail in the open section of last night’s meeting, as the issue had “financial implications”, said Mayor Ryan. Further discussion was to take place in the confidential session.
Cr Chansey Paech had his own suggestion: council should display some of its art collection in one of the empty shopfronts. On behalf of the community council holds a substantial collection, which is kept at Araluen under professional art storage conditions. Mayor Ryan warned that accessing it to display off site can be an expensive exercise, one that council undertook a while back, displaying works in the Chief Minister’s office.
However, officers will prepare new information about costs to put before councillors.
Meanwhile, Yeperenye Pty Ltd, owner-managers of the Yeperenye Centre and Springs Plaza among other non-residential real estate assets, has engaged a consultant to help fill its tenancies. This was disclosed in the Mayor’s report of his meetings over the last month. He said he meets regularly with Owen Cole, Yeperenye’s general manager to discuss opportunities and issues in the CBD, but this was the first time Yeperenye had brought in an “outside resource” to work on its tenancies.
The consultant is Inside:Out Retail Property, a commercial real estate agency in Adelaide which specialises in retail leasing, planning, research and income modelling, with shopping centres under leasing management and new shopping centre developments across SA and the NT.
Other business interests meeting with the Mayor lately have included Alex Hatzimihail, Mark Traynor and Hannah Shon, the latter with “Korean connections”. Their interest was in the local housing market.
Jamie Hill of Calabria Family Wines, from Griffith, NSW, had also sought a meeting, wanting to express his views of Temporary Beat Locations outside local bottleshops: he thinks they aren’t working, according to the Mayor.
He also had something to say about the plastic bottles in which his product is sold in Alice Springs: they are recyclable. Mayor Ryan said he has yet to test that proposition with Envirobank.
UPDATE, Tuesday 28 July, 11.56 am:
Councillors were “fully supportive” of Mayor Damien Ryan’s pursuit of pop up opportunities following confidential discussions last night, he says. He will now go back to work with people in government and some of the local landlords.
What can council do apart from encourage?
Mayor Ryan says council will involve experienced people who have worked with pop ups before. They will assist local pop up proponents, who have “great skills and creative flair”, with their contractual arrangements with landlords.
When might we see the results?
“As soon as possible.”