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There’s been a lot going on during the last month! First it was the official opening of Pacific Fair, which was a great event, great turnout and a great centre. It’s a centre with a difference but the AMP team have really done well and Pacific Fair looks to be the sort of centre to get right up there on all the Big Gun tables: it’s powerful, comprehensive, all encompassing and simply put, a great centre!

Then Mirvac’s Broadway Sydney opened; we profile it this issue. They completely redeveloped their Level 2 and it hums. It’s a truly urban setting; not at all your normal shopping centre.

Then it’s over to Perth for the Mandurah Forum cover story.

It’s an interesting centre in many ways, not the least of which is that the region now contains a trade area sufficiently large enough for a Big Gun or a prime regional and Mandurah is the first time that’s happened in WA outside the Perth metropolitan region. Mandurah lies south of Perth and has emerged as WA’s second-largest city. It’s got its own primary trade area but the secondary to the south is enormous. Previously those to the south (probably down as far as Margaret River), made the journey to Perth for shopping. Now they can knock an hour each way off the trip!

After that it was off to China for the Mall China conference. Every year it gets bigger and the attendees come from further afield. It was the 14th Annual conference; when I went some 12 years ago I think I was one of less than a handful of foreigners. Then some of the SE Asian nations started to attend, then some Americans to the point that now, probably a third of the delegates are from outside China. They’re all looking to do business there and the networking is feverish. John Schroder, Stockland’s CEO, Commercial Property, gave a key-note speech which went down extremely well as the Aussie shopping centre industry is flavour of the month right now in China. Lots of study tours from China to Australia. Many of you have had them visiting your centres.

Things in China, shopping centre-wise, are cooling down. There’s a focus on ‘fixing’ centres rather than building new ones. China has over 4,000 shopping centres and more than 90% of them are, in any accepted international financial parameters, commercial failures. This in the main is because they’ve been developed without reference to the market; mostly they’ve just taken the ‘American Mall’ model, copied it with the principle; ‘build it and they will come’. They did come but they didn’t spend! Couldn’t afford it. In many instances there are centres there where the operating costs exceed the rent!

Back to Australia for the opening of Mirvac’s Tramsheds, and I’m seeing a really top development that really appeals to me as I live close by. A condition of the D.A. for the apartments (the major development on the old Harold Park Trots site), was that the Tramsheds, an old 1904 structure, be restored. In the normal run of things it would have just been restored but Mirvac’s retail division saw an opportunity…

It’s the Mini Guns edition; some great centres in the bunch and some impressive figures. What stands out is the number of major players who are now in the Mini Gun sector; it didn’t used to be like that.
It’s a great edition. Happy reading!