Revealed: The surprise tenant that could occupy Myer’s flagship CBD space after 35 years
- Griffith University can take up space that Myer releases
- Myer declined to renew the lease in the Brisbane CBD
- Shopkeeper says he is looking for an alternative location in the city
A new tenant has stepped up to occupy the spot vacated by Myer following the retailer’s shocking decision to vacate its flagship location in a major state capital.
Despite the Myer Center mall being named after the department store when it opened along Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall in 1988, the company has decided not to renew its lease on the prime location.
Myer is moving in July, leaving five floors or just over 28,000 square feet empty in the heart of the River City, but the space may not go unused for long with Griffith University in Queensland as a likely taker.
The university, which is looking for a CBD campus, is a candidate to take over the site as a stopgap measure in its search for a more permanent location, the Courier Mail reported.
Despite not renewing the lease, Myer said it is not leaving the city center and is looking for a new location.
Myer has made the shocking announcement that it is leaving its flagship store in the middle of Brisbane
The decision to move out of the Myer Center reportedly came after lengthy negotiations with the landlord, during which the two sides failed to come to an agreement.
“While we remain committed to the Brisbane market, we have been unable to achieve a reasonable commercial outcome with the landlord and will therefore continue to look for an alternative CBD location,” said John King, CEO of Myer .
The company said staff may work at other stores nearby.
Retail expert Professor Gary Mortimer told Daily Mail Australia the decision to close the center ‘came as a surprise’.
Griffith University in Queensland has emerged as a likely tenant for the space Myer vacated
“Clearly, Myer’s CEO, John King, has been able to turn the company around,” he said.
“Look at their half-year results, $1.8 billion in revenue – 24 percent higher than the same period last year.
“But what we’re seeing in Brisbane is a good example of the challenges retailers now face when it comes to renting space within a shopping centre.
“I think it’s less about the Myer brand and more about the bad conditions downtown.”
Professor Mortimer, who lives near the mall and often walks through it, said it was old and decrepit.
“I think Myer has looked at downtown and seen it’s tired and needs investment and without that it’s incredibly difficult for a retailer to sustain a flagship store,” he said.
“It is clear that John King has brought significant cost savings to the company.
“They went through a process in recent years, just like David Jones, where they closed stores that no longer served a community because the demographics had changed.”
Myer’s decision to leave could put more pressure on Brisbane’s CBD, which already has a relatively large amount of retail space vacant
A spokesperson for Myer Center’s co-owners, Vicinity and ISPT, previously said they had no final plans for the site.
“Proximity and ISPT are exploring a number of options for the center, including a scaled-down contemporary department store and plans without a department store that we can now confidently move forward with,” the statement said.
A survey by retail property group CBRE found that Brisbane had 18.4 per cent of its potential retail space vacant, the second highest of any CBD in Australia.
The group attributed this to low office occupancy rates, with many still working from home even after the Covid pandemic, extreme weather conditions and the low levels of overseas migration and tourism over the past two to three years.
Despite Myer recently posting its best profit since 2014, the retailer has closed stores across Australia as part of a consolidation strategy.