Do they relocate, open a branch operation in one of these new developments or stay where they are?

I suspect many businesses choosing to stay in their current location would be faced with a slow decline in turnover which will eventually force them out of business. 

Some businesses will have no choice in the matter if their competition looks like relocating or if a major new competitor arrives in town and heads straight for the new development. 

Given that scenario, existing hardware and electrical retailers, furniture stores and car dealerships would almost certainly move to new locations with greater floor-space and better parking facilities.

And when they move, what happens to their current premises?

It’s hardly likely that you’ll find new businesses queueing up to access the newly-vacant space, since new businesses are going to be trying to gain access to the new retail precincts.

Some businesses will stay in town. The restaurants and pubs won’t have too much to worry about and there may be scope to increase the entertainment and eating options on offer but there are already significant issues with alcohol- and drug-fuelled vandalism and you would expect such behaviour to increase if the area becomes run-down with large numbers of vacant buildings.

Not that the vacant buildings will necessarily be unoccupied. As the area becomes increasingly run-down you’d expect to find an increase in the numbers of homeless people taking shelter there, with an associated rise in petty crime in the areas immediately around town.

That sort of scenario doesn’t sit very well with the redevelopment of the Front Beach area either.  If part of the raison d’etre for the redevelopment is to encourage people to turn off the highway and visit the area where the movie was shot, an increasingly run-down business centre will more than likely encourage them to turn around and head back to the highway.

For those reasons it’s desirable that high-density residential development be channelled into the current central business district.

That will bring substantial numbers of people into the area and, while some businesses will have no choice but to relocate, it will encourage others to remain in town, and will attract services likely to appeal to people living in unit developments, which would also be the sort of businesses that would be most likely to encourage people to turn off the highway.

 © Ian Hughes 2014