Breakfast At Tiffany’s Could Be A Thing Of The PastUncertainty and concern are building over the future of businesses in Bondi Junction’s Tiffany Plaza.
Meriton, Australia’s largest property developer, owns the plaza and has lodged a development application (DA) with Waverley Council to transform part of the plaza into apartments and a childcare centre.
George Nunn, owner of Bondi Hair Crew located inside Tiffany Plaza, said he approached Council to view the DA and was surprised by what he saw.
“They weren’t supposed to let us stumble on this,” he said. “This was like a secret apparently.
“We knew about the [development of the] building upstairs but we didn’t know about all the shops going, and the serviced apartments downstairs.
“It wasn’t until I found out by accident. I went to the council to have a look at the plans upstairs and they gave me the plans for downstairs by accident.
“Maybe they are sneaking that proposal in. I don’t know what they’re doing.”
Retailers have formed a group, the Tiffany Plaza Commercial Committee, and are desperate to find out whether their businesses will remain viable in the future.
“We won’t get compensated; we’ll lose everything and we’ll have six months to vacate the place if the proposal goes through,” Mr Nunn said.
“We sent [Meriton] an email demanding a meeting, and McDonald’s also had a meeting scheduled with them, but they pulled out of the meeting at the last minute. It’s a really slow process and we’re not getting any answers.
“We’ve formed a little community in here. There are a lot of businesses that are going to suffer.”
Accoring to Meriton, a decision about the future of the Tiffany Plaza is yet to be made.
“I’m afraid there is no update at this stage that I can share with you, beyond what we have already told our retailers: we haven’t made any decisions at this stage that will affect them,” Lisa Thomas from Meriton’s Media and Communications team said.
“If and when we know more, we will communicate any decisions to them straight away. Meriton will always act in accordance with the retailer’s lease and the Retail Leases Act.”
But Mr Nunn, who signed a five-year lease last year, pointed out that only one DA has been submitted. The DA is believed to be a $2.3 million transformation of the plaza, resulting in the removal of retail space to make room for 13 serviced studio apartments and a childcare centre.
“I just want to know what’s going on,” Mr Nunn said. “Are they going to let me out of my lease? I don’t want to suffer. I spent too much renovating this shop last year, building it up over the year and working seven days a week.”
Waverley Mayor Sally Betts confirmed the DA had been submitted, as well as a petition against the development.
“This is really between the shops and Meriton,” she said. “We have got to accept any DA that is submitted and we will assess it.
“Whether [Meriton] should have consulted with their tenants, that would have been a nice thing to do, but it’s not a requirement.”