Retailers in Perth’s Carillon arcade will need to close by the end of October as plans to redevelop the centre continue to face delays.
Retailers in Perth’s Carillon arcade will need to close by the end of October and plans to redevelop the centre continue to face delays, as property group Dexus searches for an anchor tenant.
Arcade owner Dexus issued eviction notices to all shops not facing Hay or Murray Street on Friday, telling them to vacate their premises by October 31.
More than 20 retailers were affected by the move, including R.M Williams, Shiels Jewellers, Ella Bache and businesses occupying the food court.
A Dexus spokesperson said uncertain economic conditions and the ongoing impacts of coronavirus impacted the timing of the redevelopment.
In its eviction notice to retailers, Dexus said it was “progressively securing vacant possession of tenancies to commence works in the future”.
“To minimise operating costs whilst we seek to secure an anchor commercial tenant, a decision has been made to vacate all internal mall facing retailers,” it stated.
The arcade will remain open to pedestrians as a thoroughfare.
Many stores in Carillon City have been empty for months, as the CBD’s retail sector grapples with competition from online shopping, post-boom economic conditions and the global pandemic.
Like many Carillon Arcade tenants, Mimi Leather Imports store owner Craig Cannell has been on a casual lease tenancy for the last 18 months.
Mr Cannell said he was blindsided by Dexus’ call to evict him and would have appreciated more notice.
“Legally they have done what they could do but morally it stinks – this is a lot of people’s livelihoods,” he said.
“I am a sole trader – this puts food on my table. The least they could do is give three months’ notice.”
Nearby retailer Michael Dieckmann, of Koro Fine Australian Jewellery, has occupied the arcade for the past four decades.
He said Dexus’ decision would mean dozens of retailers would miss out on crucial Christmas trading, which for him meant losing up to $300,000.
“Christmas is the busiest time of the year (and) coming through COVID we almost saw some light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
“We did not expect this – it is a bit of a slap.”
Mr Dieckmann said labour shortages compounded difficulties of fitting out a new shop and was doubtful that could occur before December.
Mazen Nahas has been a franchisee at LookSmart Alterations in Carillon for 17 years, and described the move as unfair.
“We know they want to close the centre to renovate, but they told us they would give us six months’ notice – this is hard on everyone,” he said.
“Why can’t they let us open at least until Christmas time? Five weeks is not enough time to find a new location.”
It is understood the only retailers remaining open in the arcade are Cotton On, Hype DC, Charles Edward Jewellers, Mazzucchelli’s, The Reject Shop, Blackbox Jewewllers, Hello Houseplant and Pigeonhold.
Dexus proposed redevelopment of Carillon, which has received development approval, includes a large retail offering and up to 30,000 square metres of commercial space.
City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said he was dissapointed by the decision and hoped Dexus' plans could materialise "sooner rather than later".
"We want to see every shop in every arcade in every mall full, and we hope that it's only a short amount of time before Dexus are able to get on and do the great things that they have planned for this site,"' he said.
A Dexus spokesperson said the property group would continue to work with the state and local government to progress the development.
This comes after Forrest Chase café Bocelli’s was forced to close its doors in June, after a legal battle between Forrest Chase owners superannuation fund ISPT and the City of Perth.