Will Claremont Quarter be a saviour for Bayview stores?

Claremont Quarter.After much speculation that the new Claremont Quarter could put surrounding stores out of business, it seems things are looking up, with the shopping centre bringing much-needed traffic to the Bayview Terrace area.

When construction began for the new award-winning centre, many store owners did their best to secure themselves a place within the new quarter.

Those who were unable to afford the extremely high rental prices worried that their businesses would suffer.

Many store owners were concerned that by building the new centre, it would stop customers from venturing outside and visiting surrounding stores.

But what store owners thought had the potential to put them out of business now seems to be a saviour for the area, bringing many more people to Claremont.

SLIDESHOW: Inside the centre.

When asked how Claremont Quarter has affected her business, Mimco store manager Kim Paternoster said, “it was a little bit quiet at first after the new quarter opened up; but now it seems as though its bringing in lots more much-needed traffic.

“People who go into the quarter actually come into our shop because we’re just on the outside of the shopping centre.”

Council debate

About 70 business owners and councillors met at a Town of Claremont business meeting to discuss the future of the terrace recently.

A large part of the meeting was spent discussing rental price increases along the terrace as well as in the Quarter.

Store owners explained they were worried that the unrealistic rent prices would start to see them struggle again as the excitement over the new centre died down.

They argued that in order for them to cope with the Quarter, the prices would have to come down.

Recently it was revealed that to rent the old Smiggle shop on Bayview Terrace, it would cost about $160,000 a year.

Jess Valentine, who works at One Teaspoon on Bayview Terrace, spoke about the difficulties associated with the high rental prices after the Quarter opened.

“At the start it looked like it was helping, we had more people in the area; but now it has just gone downhill.

“The rent is really expensive in the Quarter as well as here on Bayview.

“Iʼve heard that they’re trying to get the rent to come down along here because even though the new Quarter has brought a lot of new trade in the area, the rent prices arenʼt helping anyone.”

Push to redevelop the local area

Many shop owners say the council needs to start thinking about the future of the Terrace. If councillors do not do something to update the area, it will be left behind while Claremont Quarter continues to develop and thrive.

Lemon Cafe owner Chris Wilson said, “the best place for the council to start is to start giving greater flexibility on things like outdoor tables and chairs to allow shop owners to really develop their businesses”.

While it seems that Claremont Quarter is having a better effect on surrounding stores than expected, many local people say so much more can be done for the area. If done properly, Bayview Terrace has the ability to thrive and use the Quarter to its advantage.

The council discussed possible plans for Bayview Terrace.

Mr. Wilson said, “the meeting added insult to injury: we saw so many plans for the area that look great. But there’s nothing in the budget. We need certainty and timescales”.

Locals suggest that by turning St. Quentin Avenue into a walkway, a clear path will be created between the Quarter and Bayview Terrace.  This would join the areas together and could boost numbers for the Terrace.

Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said: “Times of change present the opportunity for Bayview Terrace to emerge as a better place than ever.”

Although it seems like everything is going well for the Terrace, with plans being discussed on how to develop it further, store owners worry that the council will concentrate on Claremont Quarter instead.

These businesspeople and local residents say Claremont Quarter can save the area. But in order for it to do so, the council has to continue with development plans to ensure the Terrace and other surrounding stores do not get left behind.

If done properly, Claremont has the potential to become one of Perth’s most popular shopping destinations.

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