They’re a visual blight which deter would-be renters and leading businessman Sarosh Mehta says 'for lease' signs in shop windows must go.
They’re a visual blight which deter would-be renters and leading businessman Sarosh Mehta says 'for lease' signs in shop windows must go.

‘For lease’ signs are bad for business, expert says

A prominent Brisbane businessman wants one of Queensland's best-known retail strips declared a "No For Lease Sign'' zone.

Sarosh Mehta, who for many years ran Casablanca and other Caxton St bars, a short walk from Suncorp Stadium, said the proliferation of for-lease signs in the area sent a bad visual message.

A recent analysis of shop vacancies on Latrobe and Given terraces found 75 spaces for rent.

And Park Rd in Milton now has only a handful of retailers left, with most of the occupied commercial spaces now taken by cafes, restaurants and bars because of high rents and parking woes.

He called on candidates for Paddington ward in the March Council election to commit to banning for lease signs on the terraces.

"With so many tenancies currently sitting vacant, the proliferation of such signage really detracts from the character of the area,'' Mr Mehta, the Caxton Street Development Association president, said.

Sarosh Mehta, former owner of Casablanca in Petrie Terrace. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Sarosh Mehta, former owner of Casablanca in Petrie Terrace. Picture: Mark Cranitch

"It seems the visual pollution is increasing with every week, but worse than the appearance is the fact that it sends a very negative message to would-be tenants.

"Signposted shops, cafes and restaurants do not inspire the establishment of new retail and hospitality outlets.

"One would think in this age of social media, the internet would be the most logical vehicle through which potential lessees could look for their new tenancies.''

In contrast, Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, where a string of high-profile stores have closed in recent weeks, boards up vacant shopfronts.

The Australian Geographic store, for example, has been boarded over with sheeting painted the same colour as surrounding walls, making it appear as if the space never existed.

Greens candidate for Paddington, Donna Burns, held a forum on solutions for the terraces' retail woes late last year.

Councillor Peter Matic recently unveiled fairy lights for the terraces, and promised more help.

Park Rd businessman and Mary Ryan bookstore owner, Bill Concannon, said there were now less than a dozen retailers left along the once prime strip.

One was a chemist, a florist mainly sold online, and one business was a commercial printer which did not rely on foot traffic.

At least two of the others were planning to close soon.

Mr Concannon has lobbied Brisbane City Council for a decade to relax onerous parking restrictions in the Lang Park Traffic Precinct, which extends for several kilometres around Suncorp stadium, saying the rules frightened off customers.