The completion of Sydney’s new George Street boulevard is expected to spark a major shift in the city’s retail landscape, with the pedestrianisation of the once grid-locked strip already welcoming the arrival of some major flagship stores.
The completion has of the boulevard, due in late 2019, has already prompted a rise in rents of 10 per cent. And a new report has flagged George Street as overtaking Pitt Street as the Sydney’s premier retail street.
According to a new CBRE report, prime rents on the strip have outperformed other prime CBD locations by over 10 per cent per annum since the decision was made in 2015 to turn the street into a retail location that prioritises pedestrian movement and light rail by replacing the road surfaces with the stone-paved track area level with the adjacent footpaths.
CBRE research analyst Freddie Kareh said as George Street becomes more established as a retail destination, it would compete with Pitt Street Mall as the city’s major shopping hub.
“In the 10 years to 2027, prime rents on George Street will experience a net rental increase of 55 per cent in comparison to other prime locales in the CBD – equating to a 110 per cent total rental rise over this timeframe.”
“The uplift in rents and subsequent property values, in addition to the completion of light rail infrastructure and public domain upgrade, will attract more high-end retail tenants that will be able to meet these greater rent demands,” he said.
While Pitt Street Mall will likely remain the city’s premium retail destination, the enhanced amenity along George Street will make it a more attractive proposition for retailers – encouraging new outlets and greater levels of consumer interest.
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CBRE head of retail leasing Leif Olson said transforming George Street into a vehicle free zone would cement Sydney’s status as a world class retail destination.
“The positive impact of the light rail and pedestrianisation of George Street is already clearly evident, having achieved above market rental growth since the plans were announced - and attracting a new calibre of retail tenants moving from Pitt Street Mall to George Street.”
“The George Street of tomorrow will be a premier pedestrian boulevard, lined with trees, street furniture and public art – a new public plaza where people meet to shop, socialise and dine,” Olson said.
Set for completion in 2019, George Street’s pedestrian zone will extend from Bathurst Street through to Hunter Street, with four city blocks upgraded with new paving and urban elements between the light rail stops at Town Hall, QVB and Wynyard.