La Casalinga Restaurant, an icon of local dining, is now a solitary island in a sea of closed businesses along Gregory Terrace, at the southern end of Todd Mall in central Alice Springs.
Not all businesses have ceased operation – the last to go are two private Aboriginal art galleries, one moving to premises in the mall, the other to an address in Smith Street. The Smith Street/Hele Crescent area is in fact seeing something of a revival as the centre of the town goes through its shuddering readjustment.
L J Hooker is the property agent for the Gregory Terrace strip. Managing Director Doug Fraser suggested the twin evils of the European debt crisis and the high Australian dollar have impacted on tourist numbers to Central Australia and consequently on businesses geared to the tourism trade.
He said he could not comment on the "effect, if any, the number of vacancies have had on rental levels".
It's also worth considering that the first businesses to vacate this strip were tour booking agencies, the kind of business that would seem to be made largely redundant by e-commerce. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured:Further fields (in Todd Mall) were greener for this Gregory Terrace business.
UPDATE – COMMENT, February 22, 2012: Ald Stewart, and for that matter his colleagues, seem to be forgetting that the Town Council has a renewal process in train, funded to the tune of $5 million. But despite the hand-wringing about the on-going decline of the town centre, there is no sense of urgency about its implementation. Where is the enthusiasm for and communication of its promise? Where are the early initiatives, such as tree planting? – K.F.