Retail property news

Vicinity goes big on solar

Vicinity Centres has completed Australia’s largest car park solar installation in South Australia, with 1400 solar-shaded car spaces at Elizabeth City Centre. The car park system is in addition to the 2.7-megawatt rooftop program which was completed in 2018 and brings the total capacity at Elizabeth City Centre to 5.9MW.

Castle Plaza, which has an existing 1.3MW rooftop solar system, has also added more than 430 new solar-shaded parking spaces as part of the latest stage of Vicinity’s national solar program, which has generated more than 15GWh of clean, renewable energy, helping power 17 centres across five states.

More than 12,000 solar panels have been laid across the two car parks, covering approximately 22,000sqm, larger than the field at Adelaide Oval. The projected annual renewable energy generation from both sites in the first year is more than 11.5 gigawatt hours – enough to power more than 2000 average SA homes for a year.

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Vicinity’s chief strategy officer, Justin Mills, said: “While we’re keeping cars cool over the summer months, the shades also help power our centres, and we know our customers and communities will welcome the new undercover parking at Elizabeth City Centre and Castle Plaza.”

Mills said Vicinity had also begun a trial of a 548kWh Sungrow Samsung energy storage battery at Castle Plaza.

“The Castle Plaza battery was key innovation in our $73 million investment in shopping centre solar and provides an on-site solution for storing and using any of the excess solar energy generated on-site.

“Our commitment to reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint continues in 2020, when we will introduce four new electric vehicle parking stations across both Elizabeth City Centre and Castle Plaza.

“We’re also helping to create more energy-resilient communities which we see as an important role as we enter summer and the energy demands that come with the hotter months,” he said.

Brisbane retail market gets a boost from development

Confidence is returning to the Brisbane CBD retail market on the back of transport infrastructure investment projects and the $3.6 billion Queens Wharf Entertainment Precinct, promising to reshape the dynamics of the city, the latest Colliers International reports.

“In terms of the Brisbane CBD leasing market we have witnessed several off-market repositioning deals with major retailers strategically taking up space on Queen Street Mall,” said Luke McGrath, director of retail leasing at Colliers International.

“High-end market retailers like Swarovski and Michael Hill commenced operations over the past few months and Hermès has recommitted and expanded its footprint at its current location on 171 Edward Street.

“Also, the development application for a third Coles supermarket in the city offering 940sqm of gross floor area and located on the upper level of the existing podium at 71-89 Adelaide Street is currently under council assessment. These leasing deals show that retailers of high calibre have faith and confidence in the Brisbane CBD retail market,” McGrath said.

Karina Salas, research manager at Colliers International, said transformation of the Queen Street Mall over the next two to three years will provide a renewed retail experience in the CBD.

“This is expected to happen once the Cross-River Rail and the Brisbane Metro are closer to completion and the Queen’s Wharf hotel, restaurants and public space open to the public by late 2022, Salas said.

“The average gross face rents in the CBD have held steady at $4250/sqm during the January to September 2019 period. We have witnessed leasing deals for new developments in Queen Street Mall at $8000/sqm, so we are anticipating the upward pressure on rents in exclusive locations.”

Capital flowing into the Queensland retail market has softened in 2019 compared to the activity seen in 2018. Over the year to date, a total of $1.36 billion worth of retail assets in Queensland have transacted compared to circa $1.83 billion retail sales recorded in 2018.

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