Ascot High Street Racecourse Road Loses 35 Retail Shops

Racecourse Road
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Once a bustling retail destination, Ascot’s Racecourse Road has had an exodus of shops in recent months due to a triad of unfavorable factors: the road closures at Kingsford Smith Drive, the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of rent. 

Reports cited that retail buildings around the precinct are now filled with “For Lease” signs as 35 stores, or about a third of the retail shops in the area, have shut down. 



 
 



To entice new tenants, Racecourse Road landlords are offering big rental holidays with free rent for the first six months and half the rental rate for the next six months, amidst continued roadworks and the uncertainty of the pandemic.

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Garry Grant, who has been running his news and magazine shop since 2005, said that the situation in Racecourse Road started going downhill when the Kingsford Smith Drive project began. In five years’ time, Grant said that his business dropped to 40 percent.

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Fashion house owner Kathy Bucceri said that this high street district used to be where the ladies spent their weekend lunches or coffee breaks in between a day of shopping. Since the roadworks, however, regulars who shopped at the retail stores and dined at the restaurants stopped coming.

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Bucceri’s shop has been in the same location for 20 years and benefitted from the clients of the nearby ANZ Bank. But since the bank’s closure, the affluent customers that frequented her store also disappeared. 

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But other shop owners remain hopeful that things will turn around as Kingsford Smith Drive is nearing its completion and pandemic lockdown restrictions are easing off.

According to one trader, landlords re-leasing their buildings should pick a good mix of shops and eateries to become more competitive with other shopping precincts.  Appeals to the Brisbane City Council to upgrade the street with more trees and better landscaping are being initiated.