Link received from Hype O’Thermia
Sat, 4 Apr 2015 at 10:20 a.m.
█ Message: Local shop owners blame lack of free parking and rising costs for “demise” of Hamilton’s CBD.
The Central Business District of Hamilton is looking a little gloomy, with for lease signs up in many shop windows.
### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00, April 4 2015
Hamilton central-city retail space sits empty
By Rachel Thomas and Nancy El-Gamel
Twenty per cent of ground level central Hamilton retail space is empty. Local shop owners are blaming lack of free parking and rising costs, while business leaders are pointing fingers at absentee landlords, sub-standard buildings and an inability to compete with lower rents at The Base.
The Base is New Zealand’s largest shopping Centre based in Te Rapa, 7 km North of Hamilton CBD.
To quantify what the average shopper sees [in the CBD], the Waikato Times counted all ground floor premises in the block within Hood St, Victoria St, Angelsea St and Liverpool St, finding that of 524 premises, the 104 empty ones outnumbered the 67 locally owned and operated stores in the area. […] Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker acknowledged the CBD needed desperate attention, and said council was taking a “holistic approach” to the problem. […] “For the city centre to be successful it must be commercially and economically successful and over the last few decades most reports have focused on physical changes, so we have started with an economic analysis and looked at the trend since 2001 in terms of the economy.”
Read more + Video
Read comments to the article.
How many other places – like Dunedin – mirror Hamilton ?
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Images: Waikato Times/Stuff – Hamilton CBD [screenshots from video]
9 responses to “Hamilton is here, DUD”
It must look bad. Hamilton’s CBD has never been one of NZ’s more attractive cities. Bland like Palmerston North. A lot of empty shops as well would make it even less inviting.
It’s not rocket science. The people don’t have spending money. The regions are all (including Dunedin) feeling the downdraft of government policies which are savaging the middle classes. Being first and foremost “free marketeers” philosophically, the rewards all float to the top. Money chases the money and it is all happening in Auckland (where the votes are) and Christchurch (rebuild). The demand in both places for housing has distorted that market throughout the regions. Result, a greater proportion of household budgets are devoted to accommodation costs, which with next to no income growth over the last couple of decades, leaves less and less for discretionary spending. Hence the empty shops. This is exacerbated by government policies of centralisation and free market purchasing. This, in Dunedin’s case (I don’t know Hamilton’s) results in the Hillside closure, the transferring of the Postal sorting Centre to Christchurch, the imminent closure or certain downsizing of Invermay, the closure of local food procuring and processing for the SDHB hospitals with job losses certain. It is a given that the message sent to Key and co. by the voters in Northland is in essence saying enough is enough, if you don’t listen to, and study the middle class then NZ will fall over, and if the property market does what it always does eventually and reverts to the mean, then billions of dollars of the citizens’ wealth will be destroyed. Governments around the world have effectively handed the future to the corporates and banks (watch out for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement with its secret deals for the corporates) which are only looking at the bottom line and the CEO’S bonuses determined by the shareholders, in turn influenced by their returns. There is absolutely nothing socialistic at all, the people are simply numbers to be exploited. If our dairy industry revenues collapse then watch the dominoes start. I sense they may already have hence this item on Hamilton and its shop vacancies. After all it is right in the heart of the Waikato dairy industry.
Still, for $27 million we might get a new flag.
And then, Calvin, add in these factors – the DCC does with its Fubar-required rates rises, its anti-car policies and its parking fees, and its readiness to accommodate the spread of big-box complexes in easy driving, easy & free parking.
(Hey I’m not complaining, I like being able to escape the CBD disincentives to shopping.)
“Twenty per cent of ground level central Hamilton retail space is empty. Local shop owners are blaming lack of free parking and rising costs, while business leaders are pointing fingers at absentee landlords, sub-standard buildings and an inability to compete with lower rents at The Base [huge shopping centre 7km from Hamilton’s CBD].”
Rings dem bells, does it?
Hamilton’s CBD demise is a red flag for us. I frequent South Dunedin a lot for my personal business because King Edward St is still parking friendly and you have Pak’n Save and Warehouse nearby for backup parking when I shop there. Mosgiel is the same. So unless the DCC wake up to what’s going on with the additional onslaught of online shopping we as a City are in real trouble in the CBD. I still keep warning the DCC to divest itself of the Wall Street mall but so far it’s all polite “deaf ears”.
Link received from Hype O’Thermia
Wed, 8 Apr 2015 at 1:04 a.m.
CBD, RETAIL & PARKING
### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00, April 5 2015
Tech weapons to save the high street
By Catherine Harris
Ask Chris Wilkinson what makes a good retailer and he’ll say there’s no mystery to it. A retailer is like a maitre’d. “They don’t necessarily need to know how to cook the meal but they do need to know how to look after people, make sure the whole operation runs properly, understand finances, understand buying. It is very much a people-oriented thing.” Those are the basics, but in an industry full of store “resizing,” online competition and new technology, the average retailer could easily be forgiven for being confused.
Enter Wilkinson’s consultancy firm, First Retail Group, which aims to “build performance, develop opportunity and manage risk”. […] First Retail Group spans a wide range of sectors and a number of countries including Australia and Scotland. In particular, it helps towns figure out how to breathe fresh life into their retail hearts.
“The biggest challenge is that towns are typically earning some pretty good money off their parking and it costs them a lot to maintain that infrastructure. So it’s not easy for them to walk away from it. We always challenge stakeholders and some of the community leaders to find ways of replacing that revenue.”
There’s also a growing concern about the “sameness” of main streets and malls, as big-box retailers pop up seemingly in every town. The future is “differentiation,” says Wilkinson. New types of retailers, flexible store fit-outs and layouts, atmospheric lighting. “It really is all about theatre.”
“That’s no longer suitable so we need to start getting some changing behaviours from the retailers. We need to get the restaurants and the retailers working much closer together, and we need them to work very hard on developing an artisan sector, because walking down the street of a place like Queenstown, you will find it no different than walking down a street in Melbourne or Sydney or Auckland.”
However, he doubts a retro move back to boutique shops is on the cards, given the cost of business. “What we’d probably see happening with artisan retailers is more developments like [Auckland’s] Ponsonby Central, where you have a collective of flexible sites with strong emphasis on food and beverage and almost mini-community that they’ve built.”
Received Tue, 12 May 2015 at 3:50 p.m.
### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 12:14, May 12 2015
Central city businesses demand action on parking
By Lois Cairns
Business owners are pleading with the Christchurch City Council to urgently address the lack of parking in the central city. They say the parking shortage has already reached a critical level and it will get worse when key developments within the retail precinct come onstream and more office buildings are tenanted.
“Currently there is a very limited level of carparking available for both short stay parking for visitors and long stay parking for commuters,” said Central City Business Association chairman Antony Gough. “Many of our members currently struggle to find parking in the central city to meet their business needs. “They also receive constant feedback from customers about how difficult it is to find a carpark,” Gough said.
They have got to be joking. There are carparks everywhere in Christchurch where buildings once stood.
The old expression was “take a hike”, according to the DCC we will make driving and parking unacceptable, now it’s
“take a bike!”
### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:25, May 27 2015
Commuters parking in inner Auckland to be hit by new restrictions
By Maria Slade
Commuting Aucklanders who park in inner city streets and walk into the CBD may have to find another way to work, under a new policy set by the city’s transport authority. Meanwhile parking fines in the city which have not been increased for 15 years are likely to go up. Both are policies in Auckland Transport’s (AT) new Parking Strategy released on Wednesday. AT is targeting streets in the inner suburbs which have become overcrowded by commuter vehicles. It trialled a residential parking zone in St Marys Bay near the CBD in 2012 which had been successful in reducing the impact of commuter parking on the area, AT said. It now intends to expand the programme, with two-hour limits in residential streets affected by high parking demand, and permits linked to their car registrations issued to locals. New developments within residential parking zones will not be eligible for permits, encouraging developers to provide parking.