Despite the challenges brought by road closures at Kingsford Smith Drive, high rental costs, and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Racecourse Road Precinct in Ascot is back on track, with many small shops now thriving in the area.
Back in 2019, many businesses already vacated their spaces at Racecourse Road precinct, mainly because of the high rental costs. Besides the expensive lease, the upgrades at Kingsford Smith Drive, which took five years, also had an impact on businesses in the area, with most businesses noticing that their patrons stopped coming due to the road work disruptions.
Most of the shops lost their customers, especially when the Kingsford Smith Drive project started. One owner of a news and magazine shop revealed the business dropped to 40 percent following the upgrades when the road works began.
Come late 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic is at its height, things became worse for traders at Racecourse Road. At the time, around a third of all shops on the retail strip already shut down.
But as the line goes, tough times never last. Fast forward to 2022, many businesses have opened in the area and there are only five “for lease” signs at the strip.
There are a number of newly opened restaurants and bars in the area, including three new Japanese sushi bars, three Thai restaurants, gourmet burgers at Grill’d, and three pizza places.
One of the significant projects coming to the area is a $70 million development from Silverstone Developments, consisting of a mix of retail and medical spaces. As of writing, construction for the mixed-use building, which will have four storeys, is well underway.
The project is expected to bring lots of new opportunities for businesses wanting to dominate the catchment.
Meanwhile, Brisbane City Council is also providing hands-on support in 2022-2023 to assist the Racecourse Road precinct as part of the Growing Precincts Together program.
This will involve business/vacancy assessments, a survey to gather feedback and ideas about the precinct, a precinct information session, precinct Coffee Connect catch-ups, hands-on support from Council about promoting, activating, supporting and refreshing the precinct, and regular e-newsletter updates to businesses.