Other side of the tracks for CBD

STRETCHING the central business district (CBD) further into east Orange could make way for more large scale retailers like Target to come to town, according to Blowes Real Estate director Gary Blowes.

But first the area would need to be rezoned to allow for commercial developments.

Orange City Council staff are embarking on a study to find out the supply and demand for industrial and commercial land in Orange for the next 10 to 20 years.

But Mr Blowes said demand for retail space had increased since last year and he would like to see more land rezoned for commercial purposes in the next 12 months.

“I’ve always wanted them to rezone from the railway line to John Davis Motors on the corner,” he said.

“The CBD is too small, it needs to grow, but if you go into Moulder Street and Byng Street it’s the heritage precinct ... the most logical way is east.”

Mr Blowes said there was a shortage of large retail sites with most businesses preferring to group together around a lead tenant acting as a drawcard for shoppers.

“We’ve got someone looking for 10,000 square metres of retail and it’s just impossible,” he said.

“The only decent development sites in town council owns, which are the Woolworths [Anson Street] car park and the Lords Place [Ophir] car park, but to do something with them is cost prohibitive.”

Mr Blowes said the sheer size of the multistorey shopping centre concept proposed for the Anson Street car park was a deterrent for investors, as were the many existing businesses backing onto the site.

Although killing off the main street was always a worry when creating new retail spaces, Mr Blowes said shops fronting the road remained attractive for independent businesses wanting to avoid the expense and demanding conditions imposed by shopping centres.

Council will use the results of an online business confidence survey and future population projections to find out how much more commercial and industrial land is needed with demand for residential land already addressed in the land and environmental plan (LEP), development services director David Waddell said.

“Using all the stats we’ve got we can tell what the current picture is,” he said.

“We usually look at it again every five years.”

Mr Blowes said the demand for industrial land and bulky goods sites was slower and Orange was still well served for now.

Although he admits Orange is likely to be hurt when Electrolux closes, he believes the town will bounce back and commercial real estate will continue to grow with the city still acting as a shopping destination for residents of smaller towns like Wellington and Cowra.

The study is expected to be released at the end of this quarter.
clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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