KNOCK OUT: Brad's Bargain Box and Bruch's buildings in East Street are to be demolished.
KNOCK OUT: Brad's Bargain Box and Bruch's buildings in East Street are to be demolished. Chris Ison ROK210717cdemolish1

EAST ST OUTRAGE: 40 days to vacate Rocky CBD stores

TRACY Jaggard has twice moved to the promised land of the Rockhampton CBD and twice been struck down.

Her small business, Brunch's at 119 East St, is one of two highly successful CBD stores to fall victim to circumstance, ironically, due to their best asset, their location.

Rumours within the city's centre were rife about proposed demolitions planned for the area - Tracy was of the understanding that she would have months.

But on Wednesday she received a bombshell like no other.

 

Brunch's owner Tracy Jaggard.
Brunch's owner Tracy Jaggard. Allan Reinikka ROK031014avagrant

"After constant emails and questions asking what is going on, I got the notification on the 19th saying I have 40 days," she choked.

"There were weeks of emails and months of speculation. I have tried to be proactive by asking for info but nothing has been delivered.

"They all said it was fine and that I'd have 90 days if it did happen. Now this.

"It was heart wrenching. We had a business in Denham St and after seven years had to move for the riverbank upgrades.

"Now we move here 12 months ago, prime spot, you pay the higher price and bite the bullet. Now we're told to leave."

 

Brad's Bargain Box and Brunch's on East St.
Brad's Bargain Box and Brunch's on East St. Contributed

With neighbouring retailer Brad's Bargain Box the other sorry store notified, tenants along East St will be wondering if they're next.

And rightly so, as Tracy puts it, both businesses were thriving.

"We have proven we are a viable small business, and we can hold our heads high, but this is not up to standard," she said.

"It doesn't give the CBD any confidence, fellow tenants are dumbfounded. Who knows if it will happen to them?

"I have five families to look after and I have to be brave. I don't have a choice. I will lose my shop, everything."

For Brad Walton's discount store which employs seven people in its CBD spot alone, it is all about the waiting game.

 

HAPPIER TIMES: Owner of Brad's Bargain Box Brad Walton.
HAPPIER TIMES: Owner of Brad's Bargain Box Brad Walton. Allan Reinikka ROK220914abargain

He hasn't received his official notification to move on but feels his fate is sealed.

Being on a month to month lease he is taking matters into his own hands and beginning the moving process.

"The biggest concern is not having clear confirmation, we are in limbo," Brad's pain clear.

"It is stressful enough running a small business but there isn't much we can do.

"You just hope they are planning to do something soon. The last thing we want is for our building to sit here vacant."

With two other locations in Park Avenue and Mt Morgan, Brad hoped his customers would remain loyal until his next venture is decided.

"We are looking elsewhere, it is just about finding the right location, we want a quality site," he said.

"So watch this space, we will shake this up discount store wise.

"Until then, our two other stores will remain open, hopefully customers will take the extra five minutes to come out. Parking is definitely easier."

 

Artist impression of the proposed cultural precinct in the heart of Rockhampton under the Rockhampton CBD Redevelopment Framework.
Artist impression of the proposed cultural precinct in the heart of Rockhampton under the Rockhampton CBD Redevelopment Framework. Rockhampton Regional Council

Rockhampton Regional Council acting CEO Ross Cheesman sympathised with the two successful owners and acknowledged the difficulty it caused.

"Council has entered into a contract to buy two buildings at 115 and 119 East St as part of the planning for the cultural precinct," Mr Cheesman said.

"The two lots will ultimately form a laneway for access to the back of the new Art Gallery Development."

He said the unsatisfactory structural integrity of 115 East St meant council was forced to act.

"While Council had every intention to keep tenants in the buildings for the foreseeable future pending planning and funding for the sites, because we knew one of the buildings had potential structural issues we commissioned an immediate engineering report," he said.

"The engineers raised significant concerns over the structural integrity of the Brad's Bargain Box building and have advised council that early demolition is necessary.

"In terms of 119 East St, the previous building owners advised that they are removing the commercial kitchen from the premises and that is their decision. Council are not keen to commit to installing a new kitchen.

"We sympathise with the two successful business owners and acknowledge the difficulty that this has caused them. We are hoping that both are able to re-locate within the CBD as they would be sadly missed."


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