Mark McGowan says he feels sorry about business failures at Yagan Square, while a process revealed by Business News in April to move market hall retailers to perimeter locations continues.
Mark McGowan says feels he sorry about business failures at Yagan Square, while a process revealed by Business News in April to move market hall retailers to perimeter locations continues.
Only two tenants are continuing to operate in the Square’s market hall, Business News understands.
It comes almost a year after Business News reported 10 outlets had shut doors within 30 months of the precinct opening, with operators citing a lack of foot traffic, restrictions on marketing, and proposed increases to rents and outgoings.
In April, Finance Minister Tony Buti said work would get under way within weeks to move tenants in the market hall to more visible storefronts on the facility’s perimeter.
At that time, DevelopmentWA said eight tenants remained at the square, although that includes perimeter businesses in addition to those in the market hall.
Today, DevelopmentWA said it had not abandoned the $70 million Yagan Square, after it was reported another tenant would leave the precinct.
But it was planning changes to the market hall.
“Our priority now is to firstly ensure that the remaining operators are fully supported by ensuring that they are relocated to new external facing premises– this will improve visibility, and give them direct exposure to passing foot traffic,” the spokesperson said.
“The fit outs of these new tenancies, which are fully funded by DevelopmentWA, are expected to be completed by late 2021.”
The state government controlled developer said it would soon open an express of interest process for a reconfigured market hall, which will integrate with the Perth City Link project.
“In addition, it is anticipated that development of surrounding land at Perth City Link will further benefit Yagan Square, including Edith Cowan University’s planned inner-city campus which will be delivered on the adjoining land under the Perth City Deal, bringing 10,000 students and staff to the area,” the spokesperson said.
Mr McGowan told a press conference today was a sad day for the tenants which had been in the market hall.
“It was a very exciting day, the day that we opened it, but the model hasn’t worked in the way that we had hoped,” Mr McGowan said.
“We have worked with the tenants to provide other opportunities for those that want them on the outside of Yagan Square.
“I’m just sorry that people took up tenancies there and the project didn’t work on the inside of it.
“On the outside, of course, it’s actually quite exciting and does quite well.
“Some of the ideas I’ve had are converting it into a farmer’s market or a brewery, those sorts of things.
“But we’re going through a process.
“It’s a shame it didn’t work, because these businesses were outstanding - the food providers, the chocolate, the honey. It’s just a shame it didn’t work.”
He said the planned Edith Cowan University campus which was to be constructed at the precinct would also boost retailers.
Shadow Planning Minister Neil Thomson said the loss of another tenant from the precinct today raises questions about the government’s management of the facility.
It also should prompt questions about the amalgamation of LandCorp and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority into DevelopmentWA, he said.
Mr Thomson, who was formerly assistant director general at the Department of Planning Lands and Heritage said the MRA already had a big remit across redevelopment sites and creating vibrant spaces, prior to the amalgamation.
“The (more) commercial focus of DevelopmentWA could be a factor,” he said.
“The last thing we can afford to see, this vibrant and fantastic development in Yagan Square, turned into an urban wasteland.”