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Published on August 29th, 2012

Temporary use of vacant space reinvigorates market

Challenging economic times have made vacant space in what were once prime commercial real estate locations a common reality in Australian cities, however, there are ways to combat this problem in a creative way and still maintain high rental yields.

New research from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) shows that temporary use of empty shops is on the rise in the New South Wales capital.

According to the educational institution's Empty Spaces Project report, there are 25 temporary-use sites in Australia, with many of them based in Sydney.

Empty Spaces project manager Lisa Anderson said that a combination of factors were behind the sudden increase in temporary-use, with much of the credit going to the popularity of the pop-up shop phenomenon in addition to the current economic climate.

Ms Anderson was also quick to point out the benefits of opening these spaces to artists to create temporary galleries and displays.

"Because art uses space differently and creates a buzz, these projects attract a broader potential base of long-term commercial tenants for properties," Ms Anderson said.

The amount of foot traffic that goes through these buildings may also increase, opening them up to a range of potential clients who might not have otherwise considered leasing this space.

Many property experts are also in agreement that temporary-use innovations help to maintain commercial districts, adding value to the properties around them and therefore lifting the overall offering price.

For Ms Anderson, the list of possible benefits does not stop there and she feels that regular grievances among owners may also be reduced due to the scheme, with temporary-use sites reporting reductions in vandalism, graffiti and insurance fees.

While these programs are not long-term solutions, they can help to tide businesses over in moments of economic uncertainty while adding cultural value to city streets and making them a pleasant place to pass time.


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