Free rent lure for Sturt Street business

A LANDLORD will offer six months’ free rent to attract potential tenants after months of being unable to lure a business to once prime Sturt Street premises.

The step comes as Ballarat joins a national trend of declining high profile retail strips as online sales pose another challenge to an already pressured market. 

The shop at 23 Sturt Street has been advertised at $50,000 a year, with a rent-free period of six months to save $25,000.

Colliers International managing director David Wright said the building had been sold to the new owner five months ago and had been vacant since.

“Due to the longevity of the property being vacant, the landlord has imposed a substantial incentive for tenants to lease,” Mr Wright said.

He said the owner was looking to attract a long-term tenant for three to five years.

Mr Wright said several inquiries had been made since the advertisement was updated on May 15.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said Ballarat could be joining a nationwide trend of offering such incentives.

“It’s not new, or unusual. It may not have happened in Ballarat before, but it’s been happening across Australia for a long time,” Mr Zimmerman said.

He said more premises were becoming vacant while the number of available tenants was decreasing.

“You can run a store from any premises. You don’t have to be on the main street any more,” he said. 

“Retail’s move to online is a contributing factor ... the general state of economy, it’s far from buoyant at the moment.”

The Courier revealed last July  the extent of Sturt Street shop vacancies, which revealed one in 14 premises was vacant.

Ballarat City Council chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said it was “common market practice” for landlords to offer those sorts of incentives.

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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