The Future of the Toowoomba CBD
With the impact of Grand Central, new 1-hour limits on parking and the quietening of James Street now that the Second Range Crossing has opened, there are a lot of questions being asked, specifically surrounding the Toowoomba CBD and what the future holds for the city centre. So, we thought we’d share our $0.02 on the current state of the CBD and where we see it heading moving forward.
We’re not going to lie, we think there’s still a bit of work to be done in the CBD to get it to where it needs to be and actually provide for the growing population of Toowoomba. Basically, over the past few years, we’ve seen strong and consistent population growth for Toowoomba thanks to some of the major infrastructure projects and the opportunity our city has access to.
But, our CBD hasn’t really grown with the wider population, from an infrastructure and planning perspective. This has restricted larger businesses who want to move into the city for growth to do so because there isn’t enough infrastructure in place to support business growth in the CBD…at the moment. They’ve simply all been attracted to Grand Central because of its attractive parking, it’s proximity to other businesses and the foot traffic that comes with being a part of a larger centre.
From an enquiry perspective, we just haven’t seen the volume of enquiry coming through following the opening of Grand Central for the larger tenancies.
As such, we see the CBD undergoing a period of significant change over the next couple of years. This starts with the car parking issues. With 2020 council elections we really see CBD car parking being a point of contention at the forefront of people’s minds. Toowoomba folk like parking to be close to the shops they need to go and if they can’t get that then they’re more than happy to go to the major shopping centres.
If the council can get the car parking side of things sorted in the CBD we think this will solve a lot of the issues regarding CBD vacancy in those larger tenancies and we would definitely see businesses returning to the city centre.
There is plenty of activity and action to be had in the CBD, just look at Walton Stores, George Banks or The Long Quarter for example, but if there’s no parking infrastructure allowing people to visit these gems as well as many others that will continue to crop up throughout the city then they simply won’t get visited.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please feel free to get in touch with us.
I’ve been asked just recently about some of the vacancies down in the CBD and I’m pleased to report that we’ve actually seen a lot of enquiry into the smaller tenancies in the CBD. The larger ones I’ve got to tell you, we have been struggling with but I am in negotiations with two larger tenants in the CBD, so that’s a good thing. I think we are going to see that CBD sit empty for probably a good 12 months or a couple of years some of those tenancies because we just haven’t seen the volume of enquiry coming through for the larger Tenancies. And I think the CBD will undergo a change over the next couple of years as well. I think the council will really have to focus on that car parking issue. If people can’t pull up in front of near the shop that they are going into. They are just going to slip over to Grand Central and do all their business in the major shopping centre. Or maybe even slip out to Clifford Gardens or the Wilsonton Shopping Centres. The car parking issue in the CBD I think is one of the most important things the council needs to address and if they get that right I think you will start to see businesses come back into the CBD.