By PHILIP CHANDLER
A Queenstown commercial broker says the resort’s CBD’s waking up from a two-year snooze.
With Covid border closures decimating tourism, there were up to 16 vacant premises in February, Colliers’ Mary-Jo Hudson says.
‘‘During Covid, it was really tough, and we had the double whammy of the street works.’’
Now, however, most of those vacant premises have been spoke for, in what Hudson says is ‘‘a big vote of confidence’’ in the CBD, and Queenstown generally.
In some cases, existing tenants are relocating, however she points out the premises they’re leaving are being backfilled.
Three gaps in The Mall, alone, have been filled:
● In a deal struck last Thursday, Mountain Warehouse is taking over the large former BONZ premises, while it’s backfilling its existing Beach St shop with another brand;
● Auckland-based Flo & Frankie, which retails fashion, homeware and lifestyle products, is moving into Fans Massage’s former premises adjoining Skyline Arcade;
● Goldfields Jewellers is shifting from Beach St to the former Bendon premises.
Over in Beach St, Remarkable Sweet Shop’s (RSS) moving up a few doors to replace the Gorman store.
A new, undisclosed tenant’s taking over the long-vacated former Mikael premises on the Beach St/Rees St corner and amalgamating with the outgoing RSS store, next door.
Meanwhile, snowboard and ski retailer Green Toad’s taken a winter lease on the former SBS bank premises on the corner of Shotover and Stanley Sts.
With these leases being taken up, the only gap in the ‘golden block’ remains the former ASB premises, in Camp St, while a former information centre on the Camp St/Shotover St
corner also remains untenanted.
Also up for lease is the former BNZ bank on Rees St, however Hudson says that’s not vacant right now as it’s first being refitted as two stores.
She believes what’s been a game-changer is DFS Group committing to two floors of the redeveloped O’Connells building for its ‘Resort Galleria’ store.
‘‘What we’re seeing is the CBD still remains a place people love to come and visit and shop and retailers want to be, and it’s differentiating itself from Frankton, to a certain extent.’’
And though landlords have helped out tenants during Covid, Hudson says underlying rentals haven’t dropped.