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Quickstop food centre on Ballina Road will get makeover from new owners

The Lismore App

Simon Mumford

11 April 2024, 8:00 PM

Quickstop food centre on Ballina Road will get makeover from new owners The Quickstop food centre on Ballina Road

With Lismore's first 7-Eleven now open in South Lismore, the Lismore App can reveal the Quickstop food centre on Ballina Road, near the Dawson Street roundabout, has new owners.

The new Quickstop food centre will be rebuilt and feature a modern design, improved facilities, and a wide range of options to serve the community.

The area has been an eyesore since the February 28 2022, big flood, except for Zambrero's, which was cleaned up and rebuilt and began operating on August 31 of the same year. Affectionately known as 'takeaway corner', the centre used to house, Subway, Dominos and Grill Shack prior to the flood.

The Spectrum Retail Group will be the new owners when the contracts settle on the 28th of June. That name may sound familiar to some readers because the group was responsible for developing the 7-Eleven site.

Co-founder and Managing Director Julian Ackad explained why he wanted to invest in Lismore.

"I drove past this particular centre before I realised it was on the market and for sale, and I thought there seemed to be a lot of potential. However, many of the tenants that were trading were closed and didn't reopen, with the exception of Zambrero.

"All of the fundamentals are strong for this centre, the traffic is high, the visibility is high, ease of access is high and car parking is convenient."

"We had one of our engineers walk through and assess the building, and it is structurally sound. There was zero structural damage caused by the flood."

"Unfortunately, there's loss of stock and fit-out damage, and tenants have shut their doors. But in Lismore, you can't even see signs of the flood that did go through. There's population, there's customers, but there's an imbalance of not enough businesses to support all the customers. So it looks like, from our perspective, a big gap in the market."

Julian and the Spectrum Group walk into their first Lismore investment with eyes wide open in terms of flood and construction costs.

"Having just built the 7-Eleven, we are intimately aware of construction pricing, which has only gone up over the last couple of years. The pandemic and recently, a lot of trades have been soaked up into flood repair work, some new home building, and all sorts of things."

"Construction pricing is still quite inflated. So, this building, given that we don't have to rebuild it, we do see a lot of value in that. We are happy to go the last mile, in putting the warm shell back into the tenancies, which is the gyprock and wall lining, roof lining, lighting and electrical, signage work, repainting the externals and improving the landscaping. Whatever materials we do use will be more flood resistant."

"That's typically the last 20% or 30% of the project. Because it's much less expensive to do a total rebuild, on the whole, it lets us put a bit of a modern uplift on the centre. We can use colours and materials that are more modern, and people should see quite a big lift."

While Julian will use flood-resistant materials in the rebuild and move electrical sockets higher, he knows another flood will come, and he is happy to just get on with life.

"I don't think we can practically be designing for the flood that happened. That was more of a freak occurrence. Personally, I'm very happy to just get on with life, and we do assume a more reasonable flood could come but you still have to just get on. Most of the population didn't move out of Lismore."

"Commercial property is our skill set, so that's one way that we can help bring some life back into the community through food offerings and grab-and-go convenience retail. This will mean jobs as well as economic activity. When we do settle contracts and upgrade the site, a lot of contractors, builders and trades will get work out of it."

If you have ever considered opening your own food business, then this may be the time, as Julian and Spectrum Retail Group will be offering incentives to help out.

"We definitely will be looking at lease incentives, and that could be a rent-free period; it could be contributions towards a tenant's fit-out."

"We're pretty flexible with spaces that tenants need. Some tenants are happy with 25 or 40 metres or we can offer up to 200 metres if some tenants have a larger requirement."

"I'm also quite sympathetic to helping any of the tenants that were in a shop in Lismore get back into a trading position, especially if they are local. So if we can have a chat with them and work out a way to help them get back up and running, we will."

Once the property settles on June 28, building work will begin a few weeks later so mid-July.

"There will be landscaping, repainting and patching. We're going to go in early and start improving the centre and, over time, build it back to full occupancy. This will probably take 6 to 12 months to get back up and running, and that's still subject to tenant interest. We will fill the space one tenant at a time."

To get in touch with Julian and register your interest in opening a business in the Quickstop food centre, click here.

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