Austral Street Shopping Village tenants feel the pinch in wake of IGA supermarket closure

HOPEFUL: Sri Malaysia manager Jade Ong said she was hopeful the Austral Street Shopping Village would make a recovery. Picture: Sam Norris
HOPEFUL: Sri Malaysia manager Jade Ong said she was hopeful the Austral Street Shopping Village would make a recovery. Picture: Sam Norris

The closure of Nelson Bay IGA at the Austral Street Shopping Village has left neighboring businesses reeling.

While property management says it has entertained enquiries from potential anchor tenants to fill the space, long term tenants say a replacement can’t come soon enough.

“Since the IGA has closed we’ve lost that passing trade,” Restaurant Sri Malaysia manager Jade Ong said.

“We need people to know we’re still here, serving the community.”

Mrs Ong, with her chef husband Peng Ong, have been in business at various locations on the Tomaree peninsula for 30 years. She said the period since IGA closed in January had been one of the most difficult, if not the hardest.

“We weren’t even told they were leaving,” Mrs Ong said.

The IGA closure prompted a rash of comments on Facebook that the centre’s owner had plans to vacate and redevelop the shopping village.

Mrs Ong said her lease runs to 2021 but she was well aware of the rumours.

“Three years ago people were saying the owner’s going to demolish it but it’s not true,” she said.

“There’s no development application with council, I checked. We’re still here, the bakery is still here and the hairdresser is still here, we’ve not closed.”

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The senior stylist at Champagne Colors said the centre was in need of some work to give it a lift.

“It’s all looking a little run down,” she said.

“It’s been like a ghost town since IGA left and we don’t hear anything about plans for the place.”

Property managers Real Estate Friend are also situated in the shopping village on their own lease.

“The owner is saying he’s got no plans to redevelop it,” Real Estate Friend principal Chris Hasson said.

“There’s certainly no immediate plans and I’ve got five years to run on my lease.”

Mr Hasson said it was certainly business as usual.

“With the IGA going it does put a dent in things. I would love to see another supermarket go in there because it is a good location that services the community,” he said.

“We have interest from two parties who are talking to us, interested in the space.”

The Examiner has requested an interview with the owner of the complex.

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