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A new survey showing reduced vacancy rates for central city retail sites is a positive economic sign for Hamilton, says Mayor Julie Hardaker.
A CB Richard Ellis occupancy survey shows vacancy rates for retail space in Hamilton’s central business district at 11.3 per cent for December 2011, down from 12.7 per cent for June 2011 - the equivalent of more than 10,000 square metres. Ms Hardaker says she is pleased to see the retail vacancy figure at its lowest point in three years.
“Since 2004, the CBD retail vacancy figures – especially those on the fringe – have significantly increased, but this result is a very positive sign, and what we want to see.”
Ms Hardaker says she there have been several new retail businesses open in central Hamilton, and excellent retail spending figures in the CBD during the Christmas period reinforced confidence in the city centre. She said the latest BNZ business confidence survey also reinforced that confidence was returning to the business sector which should drive more investment into the city.
She identified Kiwi Income Property Trust’s $40 million redevelopment of Centre Place and other construction central city projects by Wintec and Tainui Group Holdings as positives for the CBD. Work has also begun on the development of a new office block at the site of the old Hamilton Club on Grantham Street.
“Council has also received strong expressions of interest in the four sites in the CBD which it was offering for sale. These are premier sites and the Council is currently in negotiations with developers about three of the four sites.”
Ms Hardaker says although there are still people critical of the CBD, and economic conditions remained difficult, Hamilton should capitalise on its cheaper retail space rentals, confidence in the agricultural sector, and continued commercial development in the city.
“Development of the CBD is in the hands of the owners of the properties. Upgrades and investment in revitalising buildings as well as meeting the retail rates of the market in these economic conditions is essential. These latest figures indicate that those prepared to do that are successful.”