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Noosa Junction has Emerged as a Thriving Commercial Hub: Here’s why.

By Michele Dale

It’s a place where tradies mingle with multimillion-dollar homeowners over shared plates. Where an octogenarian sipping a lychee martini and a 19-year-old catching up with her friends are equally at home in a neighbourhood bar.

“The Junction” as it is known has undergone a metamorphosis in recent years. The emergence of the area as a popular restaurant and entertainment precinct alongside service businesses and retail has been part organic and part intentional.  

Fuelled by population growth and interstate migration as well as a flourishing local hospitality sector, the demand for commercial tenancies in the Junction is growing at an unprecedented rate. 

“With its professional offices, retailers, relaxed bars, unpretentious restaurants, live music and artsy feel, Noosa Junction is now a hub of commercial and hospitality activity,” says David Brinkley from Ray White Commercial Noosa & Sunshine Coast North. 

“It has become the epicentre of the area, central to Noosaville, Sunshine Beach and Hastings Street. It’s easy to access by car, there’s plenty of parking and has a major bus interchange. Locals love it, the tourists have discovered it and now it’s thriving, making the junction an attractive prospect for businesses and commercial investors.”

VIBRANT ENTERTAINMENT DESTINATION

Most credit the start of the hospitality resurgence to Village Bicycle, founded by Trevor Aylward and Luke Czajkowskyj back in 2014. Trevor and Luke realised that nothing in the Junction was open past 9pm and started pedalling “booze, food and good times” to appreciative locals.

Charlie Harrison, the owner of Mr Drifter, home of spice-trade inspired pan Asian street food and cocktails, grew up in the area but left for almost 17 years to travel and explore international flavours. Charlie was lured into the local hospo scene by the presence of Village Bicycle, Sushi Yah-man and a “for lease” sign that popped up at exactly the right time.

“I returned for a visit and saw Sushi Yah-man with their relaxed Japanese street food concept. After having a seasonal venue in Falls Creek called Chophouse, the Junction seemed like the perfect place to offer something unique, casual and high quality that wasn’t just catering for a holiday market,” Charlie said.

“I felt like the place had legs. The casual atmosphere of those first venues changed the area and brought a different dynamic centred around locals. I could see that it was going to become a vibrant entertainment destination.”

DEDICATED OWNERS AND TENANTS

Turns out Charlie was right. The place they now call “everyone’s favourite local” is bursting with energy.

The proactive not-for-profit Noosa Junction Association brings together dedicated owners, tenants and community members to build a vibrant atmosphere where everyone is welcome.

Association initiatives include the popular Live and Local Festival which gives voice to local artists, as well as regular laneway events, DJs and art showings. There’s live music at a venue or along the strip most nights and some of the region’s best street art adorns walls and venues.

The precinct comes alive for Twilight Nights, proudly sponsored by Ray White Noosa & Sunshine Coast North, every Friday night (and Saturday nights starting October 30).

“The Junction just feels like the right place at the right time,” says Samuel Gray-Jones, co-owner of intimate neighbourhood wine bar Theo’s Social Club.

“We all have a great relationship with each other and are invested in the success of other businesses and the precinct as a whole. We support and frequent each other’s venues. It’s super cool to come to work in the morning and have a theme park to stroll around all day,” says Samuel. 

HELPING UNIQUE BUSINESSES FLOURISH

Ray White Commercial Noosa & Sunshine Coast North has been matching owners/investors with tenants in the Junction for 20+ years, along with property management services for many owners.

Commercial property consultant, David Brinkley describes recent interest by food and beverage businesses as “insane”.

“The area is at the fullest I’ve seen it in five years. Ninety percent of our enquiry is food and beverage and there is also a strong push for people chasing professional office space. When something comes up, it goes pretty fast,” David said.

“We’ve helped some of the precinct’s newest businesses get started by securing premises for Ze Pickle, Iggy Sun, Somedays Pizza, Pucca, Bird and in the service and retail space, The Orangerie, Noosa Heads Medical, Arcadia Street Gallery and Linen House, to name just a few.”

Herbert, one of the new kids in town placed by Ray White Commercial Noosa & Sunshine Coast North, has quickly become known for plant-centric food made from local and foraged ingredients, not to mention next-level cocktails. 

Herbert co-owner Leon Johnston helped establish the well-known Light Years Asian bar and diner. He says the Junction’s vibrancy and changing demographics make it a place where unique business ideas can flourish.

“As a restaurant owner, it’s appealing to be in an area where there are a lot of good operators because it generates opportunities for everyone,” Leon said.

“More people in their twenties to forties who were coming to Noosa on holidays are moving here to raise families and open businesses. This creates an opening for younger, newer and more eclectic ideas to take hold which makes for an exciting future.”

INVESTING IN THE STRIP

President of Noosa Junction Association David Langdon says many owners are committed for the long haul and investing back in the strip.

“Key properties have been sold to owner-occupiers and buyers committed to investing in the long-term success of the precinct. Upgrading and spending money on their buildings shows a level of care that drives everyone to keep raising the bar,” he said.

“We are also seeing a lot of local owner/operators getting up seven days a week to give something new a go and who want to be as good as they can with their product offering.

The association is currently working on a masterplan with streetscape upgrades and other works worth up to $20 million over 3-5 years which will only add to Junction’s appeal. In true Noosa Junction spirit, landlords have committed around $6-7 million in co-funding, with the first stage set to begin by the end of 2022.

“We’re looking at identifying and developing opportunities for people who come to the Junction to stay and linger which gives more traders the potential for more business,” David Langdon said.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE JUNCTION?

While property for lease is scarce, rental rates remain relatively affordable averaging between $500 – $750 per m² net. Noosa Junction is cheaper than Hastings Street (generally around $1,500 – $3,500 per m² net), slightly cheaper than Gympie Terrace (generally around $700 – $1,100 per m² net) and still an affordable option for many business owners. Rental rates fell significantly after the GFC but are slowly starting to creep up again due to demand.

Upcoming refurbishments/redevelopments are set to attract strong interest, including a professional complex at 41 Sunshine Beach Road. Current planning proposes modernising all ten tenancies which are spread over two levels providing a building with a much more attractive street appeal and in turn lure quality tenants to this end of the street.

No longer just the domain of locals, it seems that everyone wants a piece of the Junction action, with steady interest coming from retail and hospitality operators in Sydney and Melbourne.

“There are so many really good venues and no doubt there will be more,” says David Brinkley. “We’re also seeing operators in Hastings Street keen to dip their toes into the waters of the Junction’s success. Noosa Junction is the trendy place to be and we are looking forward to helping convert more enquiries for commercial space into thriving businesses.”

Upcoming Noosa Junction Events

Every Friday night: Twilight Nights throughout the precinct from 5pm to 7pm plus every Saturday night from 30 October, 2021.

Saturday 23 October, 2021: Live & Local Festival – original live music at Village Bicycle, Mr Drifter & Ze Pickle.

December 2021: Giant Santa will be back in Arcadia Street plus Christmas/Summer festivities

For details visit https://www.noosaJunction.net/

PHOTO CREDITS: Thank you to various photographers/contributors including Paul Smith, Patrick Oberem and business owners.

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