High hopes for businesses as Nicholas St takes shape
IT’S been more than a month since the first stages of the Nicholas St precinct opened to the public, bringing some relief to business owners in the city’s old mall.
After a year of temporary fencing and impediment to traders, the first visible part of the $250 million CBD redevelopment finally opened to the public before Christmas.
Workers and local business owners said they were feeling positive after a slight increase in foot traffic in the area.
Kayla McSherry from Voice Hair and Beauty said she had seen a noticeable change in numbers.
“I think before it was a bit of a ghost town, so not many people walking through. So it’s actually been quite refreshing to see people walking through during the day and on the weekends, even bringing their family in, which is nice,” she said.
“I’m hoping to see some more businesses, bring shops back into the mall, maybe even some late night restaurants and stuff like that, I think that would be really nice.”
Owner of Ulli’s New Age Rockz Ulli Hendry said she was pleased to see more people, but hoped to see even more once the new library opens in October.
“It’s all been really positive” she said.
“A lot of people assumed the whole mall was closed, so we’re still finding people are coming in and saying ‘oh this place is open.’
“We all did lose some customers over that period, but they are slowly coming back.”
The $250 million project, which includes new retail, restaurant, recreation and entertainment precincts, including council’s new administration building and library, will be constructed and finished by mid-2021.
Residents and shoppers will see the establishment of new business uses such as cafes, fast food premises, shops, offices, new cinema complex and indoor go kart track.
The proposed development will be serviced by existing carparking facilities.
Granny’s Kitchen owner Kin Shee has had no choice but to ride the waves of the city’s ups and downs for the past 18 years.
She said she’s welcomed the latest development and the people it has brought, but business isn’t quite as good as it was almost two decades ago.
She’s had to let go of five staff members over the years and she mans the kitchen on her own.
“There used to be a lot of trees and fountains. People would always come here to eat their lunch and drink their coffee, so it was really busy,” she said.
“I hope it will be better and more people will come.”
Despite the drop in business, Granny’s Kitchen hasn’t changed their prices in more than ten years.