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Beyond the expected

Why we don’t like Manuka Plaza

By V8 Berlina with a three tier spoiler 25 February 2008 31

On the 26th February, Canberra’s first Starbucks and one of the few remaining original tenants of Manuka Plaza will close. The reason: lack of business and the lease holder preferring to invest in the Brand Depot store rather than renew the lease in Manuka. To me, Starbucks and their imitation brew is no big loss, but this does bring up the question of why we don’t seem to like Manuka Plaza. The Plaza has never been fully leased and most of the original retailers (newsagent, jeweler and Michelles to name a few) have closed down or moved. In fact the once struggling Thai place is now going well right across the street.  The rapid turnaround  of tenants and relatively frequent closures s in contrast to the rest of Manuka. The plaza (now called The Terrace) is currently undergoing its third major reno in the hopes of attracting more people. So, do you like Manuka Plaza? Why isn’t is successful, at least in comparison to the rest of Manuka?

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31 Responses to
Why we don’t like Manuka Plaza
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MelonHead 10:49 pm 27 Feb 08

Wasn’t there a furore when this development was announced? Are the naysayers now proven correct? As stated above, it is a dismal place. I feel for those who have tried to conduct retail there, and left. This would not be easy. Even Michel’s is gone!

I-filed 9:51 pm 27 Feb 08

I think it doesn’t work because it doesn’t have Manuka atmosphere. They should have designed it with Melboure-esque laneways. None of the intuitive signals for comfort and safety are there. The wide stairs make you feel too exposed. There being no back exit makes it feel weird. Whoever designed it was an amateur – or someone who designs old-fashioned shopping malls. Which, by the way, are going the way of the dinosaur.
There are echoes of the same problem in the new part of the Canberra Centre where you had up the escalator at the western end. But the enclosed sensation in the Wagamama, Koko Black bit of Bunda Street is very conducive to hanging around and shopping.
By the way, I suspect Australia Post pay virtually no rent – they will have been tempted there in the hope of attracting need-to-post shoppers.

barney 6:51 pm 26 Feb 08

It’s time to ban Manuka.

ASP 5:15 pm 26 Feb 08

“the shelves are always stocked and they mark things down throughout the day.”

Ha ha, Ant, that may be convenient for you, though I’m not sure how that bodes for their business 🙂

Holden Caulfield 4:18 pm 26 Feb 08

The Coles at Manuka is overpriced.

Duh, who’d have thunk it!

tickboom 3:15 pm 26 Feb 08

“I here that a Woolies may be built on the car park in Kingston.”

Where’d you hear that, Crikey?

ant 11:45 am 26 Feb 08

It’s still better than Qbn Coles! And the meat section in particular seems very well-run, the shelves are always stocked and they mark things down throughout the day.

ASP 10:41 am 26 Feb 08

Coles at Manuka use to be a cut above the rest in Canberra. Used to stock a very wide range of premium slines the others didn’t such as specialty cakes, chocolates and coffee. Now, the range is in most cases equal or less than the other stores and the store has seen better days.

Dave_K 9:51 pm 25 Feb 08

Actually, most of the anti-social behaviour seems to happen on the Captain Cook Crescent side of the complex. There always seems to be a passing parade of noisy, drunk and mildy dangerous looking characters at all hours of the day and night, mostly coming and going or hanging out around the flats over the road. Another wacky design feature – the car park exit, with that silly curved concrete divider which you can’t see as you come up, out and over the rise onto the road. It catches the unwary all the time and has a decent collection of scrapes and paintwork to prove it.

bd84 9:26 pm 25 Feb 08

They decided to close the woolies at manuka for the same reason, it did very little business and it wasn’t profitable to keep it open.. then the bright sparks at coles decided to open across the road, can’t say I’ve been inside but I doubt it would be doing much better.

Meconium 8:24 pm 25 Feb 08

I agree with everything needlenose just said.

However, and maybe it’s just me here, I think the ‘dodgy’ feel of the place prevails over everything else! I don’t feel in danger walking around most of the other parts of Manuka at night, even around ATMs etc, but the quiet, barren corridor of Manuka Plaza seems like a good place for anti-social behaviour to occur! Although I’m pretty sure none of that happens – maybe because everyone is a little put off, or maybe because the gangs of youths looking for a fight hang out in more prominent places.

But during the day is when you’d expect more business, so I guess the above isn’t the reason it hasn’t succeeded, I’m just a night owl I guess.

Just bad design I suppose – it’s practically invisible, it’s not well signposted or advertised, and besides, there’s nothing there anyway (because of the high rent and other reasons Dave_K mentioned)…

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