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Close to 10 per cent of Moreton Bay businesses forced to shut up shop during COVID-19

For lease signs litter shopping arcades north of Brisbane – with one real estate agency saying about 10 percent of businesses were forced to close during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Erin Smith, Redcliffe & Bayside Herald
June 8, 2020 2:09pm

About 10 per cent of Moreton Bay businesses were forced to close during COVID-19 but with restrictions easing things are starting to look up – for some.

Ray White Commercial Northern Corridor Group director Ashley Rees said of its 380 managed tenancies in the Moreton Bay region nine percent were forced to close due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Another 34 per cent were indirectly impacted.

“Of the 380 tenancies we manage we received 140 requests for rental assistance from businesses,” Mr Rees said.

“Almost all of these happened in the first five weeks, with only one request coming since May 1.”

Mr Rees said 19 per cent of rent relief requests came from hospitality businesses.

Another 15 per cent of requests came from retail and trades while office buildings and beauty salons were also hit hard.

COVID-19 impact on Moreton Bay businesses
Ray White Commercial breakdown
• 9 per cent of businesses forced to close
• Of the 380 tenancies managed 140 requested rental assistance
• Hospitality businesses were the most heavily impacted making up 19 percent of the rent relief claims
• 15 per cent of claims were made by trade businesses and retailers
• Storage and mechanical businesses were least affected
• The number of new lease deals signed in May is up 59 percent on April

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Industrial businesses, mechanics, storage and medical tenants were the least affected

Mr Rees said all of their tenants forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions had since reopened.

For lease signs are hanging from many windows along Redcliffe Pde and its surrounding arcades.

Lagoon Point Cafe, The Little Crepe Lounge and Professional Real Estate are among some of the casualties.

The Little Crepe Lounge posted on its Facebook Page:

“Hi all, now that we have a little more freedom to walk around you may have noticed we’ve moved everything out of the little crepe lounge,” the post said.

“We are looking for a new premises. It may be a long wait however as we won’t be opening until things are back to normal. Stay safe everyone. We miss our dear customers and wish you all the best.”

Mr Rees said there were a number of good news stories that came out of the pandemic.

“In general there has been a fantastic coming together by almost all owners and tenants to acknowledge the obstacles both are facing and to come up with logical commercial agreements,” he said.

For lease signs along The Walk Arcade at Redcliffe. PHOTO: AAP/ Sarah Marshall

“We have quite a few cases where owners have given more support than the code required, just to take some extra stress of the business owners.”

Mr Rees said there was one tenant on Morayfield Rd, at Morayfield, who paid back the discounted rent after realising their trade had not gone down as predicted.

ROAD TO RECOVERY

While some businesses remained closed many have opened as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

The Ambassador of Redcliffe has announced it will reopen on June 10.

The Golden Ox at Margate is once again taking dine-ins, as is Pilpel, The Coffee Club and The Rustic Olive.

Mr Rees said he did not expect every business to “come out stronger”.

“But for most businesses we talk to the bottom wasn’t as low and the recovery has been quicker than they expected,” he said.

Mr Rees said things were starting to look up.

“May saw a significant improvement in activity across all commercial property types,” he said.

“The best vote of confidence we have seen is that businesses have been willing to sign on to new leases with annual rent worth more than $750,000 across the region.”

He said the number of inquiries in May was 59 per cent higher than those made in April.

The number of lease deals signed had increased 59 per cent between April and May as well.