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Axing of Palace cinema parking discount not all black and white, says Nishi owner

By Ian Bushnell 5 November 2018 26

The Palace Electric Cinema bar in the Nishi building. Photo: Palace Cinemas.

The owner of the Nishi building in NewActon has defended its new parking regime which no longer provides cinema patrons with a discount.

Wilson Parking operates the underground parking station and has moved to a licence plate recognition system that includes pre-payment. However, the discount is a matter between the Palace Electric Cinema and the Nishi owner, Molonglo Group.

They are in negotiations over the removal of the discount on 5 October, which Palace says has hurt its business and prompted many complaints.

Parking rates at Nishi are now $6 for 1-2 hours, $10 for 2-3 hours, $12 for 3-4 hours, with a flat rate of $16 on Sundays and public holidays.

Depending on the length of a film or how long cinema goers may wish to relax with a glass of wine or coffee, the extra parking slug could be significant now that the 50 per cent discount has been axed, especially on a Sunday, and puts the Palace at a competitive disadvantage with its main competitor, Dendy.

The upfront payment also means most err on the side of caution and overestimate, although Molonglo says patrons can pay from their cinema seats.

At Dendy, parking is in The Canberra Centre, which charges $4 for two hours, $6 for three and $10 for for four, with a $2 flat rate on Sundays and public holidays.

But the Nishi carpark is not large and there obviously have been management issues, with Molonglo pointing to the need for quicker access, more turnover and reduced long-term parking.

Palace Chief Executive Benjamin Zeccola said the cinema supported Molonglo’s efforts to speed up exit and entry, freeing up more bays for daytime use and attempting to make payment easier but it “deeply regrets the removal of the validation system and remains hopeful it can be reinstated in some way”.

“Palace put this view to the landlord when first notified of their intention to remove it. Molonglo has offered the cinema a form of promotional support however this has not been accepted. Palace has taken the month since implementation to absorb the impact of the changes and we will continue to negotiate for a better outcome on behalf of users of the cinema and carpark,” he said.

Molonglo Director Johnathon Efkarpidis said a number of factors had led to the change, that may or may not seem apparent to all users. “It’s not always black and white,” he said.

Mr Efkarpidis said the comparison with Dendy was not a fair one as the Nishi parking area was much smaller and parking rates were generally set based on location, number of car parks, amenities and users in the area.

He said the move to the new system was to allow for much quicker access and egress – which he said was not the case at The Canberra Centre – and to reduce the number of long-term parkers and free up more short-term casual parking spots for cinema and restaurant patrons.

He said the standard rates from 1 to 4 hours were reduced, to make them fairer for visitors to NewActon.

“Palace Cinema offers considerable discounts with their Movie Club tickets and they also offer discounts on various films at different times. Again, if discount is all that is being compared, then I believe that their discounts make up for any additional dollars spent on car parking,” he said.

Mr Efkarpidis said guests could also pay for their car parking while in the cinema, rather than queue on the way in or out, which was not offered at The Canberra Centre.

Mr Zeccola said although the removal of the parking validation system was doing the cinema harm, he acknowledged that Molonglo was otherwise a very good landlord. “We are confident that with a little time a solution can be found within the constraints of the technology,” he said.

Parking is available nearby outside of NewActon.


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26 Responses to
Axing of Palace cinema parking discount not all black and white, says Nishi owner
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Jordania 9:18 am 09 Nov 18

Car park owners are greedy rip-off merchants. It’s not as if they have massive overheads. Palace cinema should move somewhere else; New Acton is too out of the way and there isn’t much around there where food and/or drink are affordable.

Crazed_Loner 1:24 am 09 Nov 18

So it’s OK to increase the parking costs because some people get ticket discounts? That is, the money you save on the discount goes to the parking? Welcome to grasping capitalism, 2018. This bloke should work for the government…

Julie Maynard 5:10 pm 06 Nov 18

Park across the road near the National Film and Sound Archive. It's free at night and on the weekends!

Pierson Blake 11:58 am 06 Nov 18

What ever happened to parking being validated and not paying anything? Most cinemas do this, not sure about Dendy, but I wouldn't be surprised if they validated people parking with a cinema ticket, Belconnen does.

Capital Retro 9:48 am 06 Nov 18

Funny how people are whinging about the parking costs but still happy to pay $9+ for a glass of vino there.

    Crazed_Loner 1:26 am 09 Nov 18

    If they have cheaper parking, it’s easier to afford a glass of wine, d’uh. So what’s your solution, take your own?

Petrea Salter 9:40 am 06 Nov 18

We love going to the Palace! However, we are so disappointed with the changes in the car parking policy that we - along with our friends - have now refused to eat at Monster or any of the other Hotel Hotel's customer offerings . The idea that you now have the concern of making sure you don't go over your upfront, estimated time which you prepay for before enjoying a relaxing movie followed by a dinner is just ridiculous. We now uber and go to another restaurant outside of the Nishi.

    Julie Maynard 5:14 pm 06 Nov 18

    Petrea Salter so, why not Uber to Nishi? Or, drive and park for free at the National Film and Sound Archive? I don't understand your disdain for Nishi because of the parking!

    Petrea Salter 5:30 pm 06 Nov 18

    We do uber to Nishi to go to Palace. We were great fans of Hotel Hotel and visited frequently, especially having dinner after a movie. But I find this recent change in parking ridiculous. Prior to the change you could grab your parking ticket, have it validated at the cinema, enjoy a film and then dinner without having to anticipate and worry about how long you were going to spend out of the car as you now need to prepay. From people I have spoken too it is the management that instigated the change. Thanks for the tip of parking at the NFSA.

gooterz 9:21 am 06 Nov 18

Wilson just about has a monopoly, doors that mean their prices should be regulated or limits posed on their monopoly

Sandra Stops 7:50 am 06 Nov 18

There is rarely a free space in the parking station anyway so never usually try parking there. Sunday there is plenty of free parking nearby. However, even with paying for parking the cost of a movie with palace movie club membership is a fraction of what I pay at other cinemas for a movie.

Yuri Shukost 4:19 am 06 Nov 18

Palace would be better off moving. Years ago, Civic could support Electric Shadows, Centre Cinema and the Civic Twin which expanded to become the Civic 3. That was with a much smaller population base than you have now, especially around Braddon.

JC 11:07 pm 05 Nov 18

Daniel Wilson operate the carpark on behalf of the owners of that car park here and elsewhere.

It is the owner of the building that sets the price not Wilson.

Jenny McInnes 9:21 pm 05 Nov 18

The excuse given by Johnathon Efkarpidis for the exuberant parking costs at the Nishi building is a joke! I would have to agree with you Nada Krstin...Greed.

    Russell Darroch 12:18 pm 06 Nov 18

    Yep, nothing like contemporary greed. Rampant, led by the pollies - the attitudes come from the top, every single time.

Nada Krstin 9:06 pm 05 Nov 18

just greed....

bj_ACT 8:40 pm 05 Nov 18

Where do people recommend alternative parking?

I’ve found the outside places to be often full and the Uni had restricted parking for non students and the 2 hour parks near the Film and Sound Archive were full.

Very poor public transport from my part of Deakin to Acton as well.

Daniel Königs 8:05 pm 05 Nov 18

Wilson’s prices are a joke. Luckily they don’t have right to collect in the ACT. so free parking, amirite?

    Yuri Shukost 4:16 am 06 Nov 18

    What are you talking about? Wilson is one of the biggest parking collectors in the ACT.

    Trish Lingard-Wyss 6:58 am 06 Nov 18

    Yuri Shukost they don’t have access to registration addresses so they can not find you if they issue a ticket. Most people don’t pay them. But if your rego gets too many they will clamp or tow your car.

    Daniel Königs 7:12 am 06 Nov 18

    Yep, govt won’t hand over your details. Considering the highway robbery of their parking prices vs other car parks I say suck it to them.

Michael Groenhout 6:42 pm 05 Nov 18

I've never parked under there. After hours and weekends there are always plenty of free parks within a 5 min walk, in fact, much easier to find than at Dendy

Dianne Thornton 6:30 pm 05 Nov 18

Well between the cost of the movie then parking , it’s off limits for me😥

gooterz 6:28 pm 05 Nov 18

Dendy Cinema isn’t a pain to get out of the carpark and you can pay using card at the boomgate.

Palace would be better to move elsewhere. Not much to eat around there and Max B has also collapsed along with the italian place.

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