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Is Civic Dying?

By - 23 August 2011 71


I had a few minutes to kill this morning in Civic and I was struck by the growing number of empty shops in the city, especially in the Centrepoint complex.

Is this just a repeat of the boom/bust cycle for Civic or are we seeing a long term trend emerge?

What’s Your opinion?

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71 Responses to
Is Civic Dying?
Kayellar 11:53 am 23 Aug 11

johnboy said :

But the absence of chuggers is for mine the big plus of QIC.

I still find I have to plan how I am going to get around the CC to avoid the gauntlet of Big Issue sellers, children torturing us with their poorly played instruments, those kiosk stores wanting to buy your gold/get you to sample their mineral face washes/donate to the Paralympics and charity people (chugger or otherwise) who stand at the crossings!

I know I would shop around Garema Pl and Petrie Plaza more if they were selling things I need… but as I don’t need to wear suits and cufflinks to work, only need so many clocks and can only eat so much food, my need to shop at any of those outlets is limited.

I think it would be great if there were more clusters of cafes – so putting one back where the Starbucks (vom!) was and maybe underneath Centrepoint (Red Herring doesn’t count!) would be good, or even further down City Walk – and cafes that are open on weekends.

I was also of the understanding that those shops were being priced out of the market so that eventually Centrpoint and those buildings would be knocked down and the Canberra Centre monster would continue to spread it’s beige and uninspiring tentacles through the city. Not sure of the truth in that though.

Brandi 11:40 am 23 Aug 11

I’m keen to rent an on-street shopfront in Civic for my business. But I have a hard time supressing my laughter when the leasing agent tells me the rent per square metre on a ragtag stripped-out hole in the wall is three times as high as a luxury penthouse.



Holden Caulfield 11:31 am 23 Aug 11

Civic has been dying a slow death for a while, which is quite sad in some ways. I’m sure it’s not necessarily something confined to Canberra, though.

DUB 11:30 am 23 Aug 11

Yep, we can expect more daylight robberies there, it will soon turn into a no-go zone.

whoodzzz 11:29 am 23 Aug 11

pretty sure I read somewhere that QIC now owns Centrepoint?

I know they are very quietly buying up as much real estate as they can and either offering ridiculous rents to tenants to get them to move or just simply not renewing the leases.

Its a joke and the Government needs to grow some balls.

At least get the vendors to validate our parking if we are forced to shop at the canberra centre!

nsn 11:29 am 23 Aug 11

Of course, Centrepoint has also been owned by QIC for some years now, as are some of the neighbouring buildings with empty shops.

Henry82 11:26 am 23 Aug 11

i reckon that place with the JB hifi sign has been closed for at least 5 years.

– high rent
– CC monopoly
– economic downturn.

Thumper 11:17 am 23 Aug 11

I was just saying to Ms Thumper the other day that malls will suck the life out of society.

Civic is a perfect example.

qedbynature 11:12 am 23 Aug 11

I’m not sure it’s just the asking price that is driving businesses into the welcoming arms of the QIC. Any retail business needs punters and the Canberra Centre has a ready made supply of them either getting off the conveniently located ACTION bus stop or out of their comfy underground carparks.

The oversupply of retail options in Canberra is well known and a feature of our enlightened planned city but it seems a shame to see the variety of small mixed business that populate the outdoor Civic streets slowly dwindle and be replaced by empty facades. If things continue at this rate, the Canberra Centre really will be the mall that ate the city.

harvyk1 11:10 am 23 Aug 11

johnboy said :

But the absence of chuggers is for mine the big plus of QIC.

I’d say that’s a big plus for the CC.

But the big question is of course why would you risk placing a shop in a location which the vast majority of people who walk past have no interest in actually buying anything, vs placing a shop in a place like the Canberra Centre where the vast majority who walk past actually intend on parting with money at some point.

If your going to go to the trouble of running a store, you might as well place it in a good location, right now that good location is the CC, as evidenced by the number of larger stores (Dick Smith and JB HiFi spring to mind) which closed down outside shops (in already relatively good locations) to move into the CC.

dvaey 11:09 am 23 Aug 11

I note in your photos, a distinct lack of people. Maybe its because what used to be a nice open city area, which Canberrans grew up with, has now been turned into more like Sydney or Melbourne CBD.

enrique said :

Even though there are For Lease signs up, it looks like nobody is interested. Maybe the asking price is too high?

This is a problem for shopping centres. If you have a centre with 1000 square metres for lease at $10 each, you have an asset that brings in $10,000. If you reduce that rent price to $5, your asset is only worth $5,000 and suddenly your entire value starts to decrease. It looks better on paper, to have have 90% occupancy at $10 than to have 100% occupancy at $5, even though it gives the impression to customers that with 10% unleased, the tumbleweeds wont be far behind.

john87_no1 11:04 am 23 Aug 11

It’s sad walking around the city these days. Im still getting over the fact that a store completely dedicated to football jerseys has opened in the interchange. Would have been a decent size pub if someone had taken a chance.

johnboy 10:56 am 23 Aug 11

Shifting all the parking into the Canberra Centre doesn’t help.

But the absence of chuggers is for mine the big plus of QIC.

enrique 10:49 am 23 Aug 11

Even though there are For Lease signs up, it looks like nobody is interested. Maybe the asking price is too high?

Is there any relationship between the owners/managers of Centrepoint and QIC?

troll-sniffer 10:47 am 23 Aug 11

Part of a long term trend I’m afraid. Civic has been infected with QICitis, a slowly spreading scourge of failed businesses that have been out-competed by the cosseted chosen ones in the Canberra Centre. One should feel outrage and a tinge of sadness that the open air model is proving less resilient than hoped, but… ’tis the will of the people who have spoken with their feet. (Admittedly like a bunch of dumb sheep as they pile out of the Kias and Commodores in the safety of the covered carparks and on into the safety, security and air-conditioned commfort of the Canberra Centre).

The sad fact is that for every one of us who ventures into the fresh air, sunshine and variety of the independent shops outside the CC, there are ten or so who find the CC to be right up their bogan alley.

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