Belle Property commercial retail leasing agent and hospitality entrepreneur, Matt Lazarus says he's 'on the frontline' in the fight to save bricks-and-mortar business in South Australia.
Entrepreneurs and businesses need to look forward in order to see opportunities now
Founder of James Place coffee shop Fair Espresso and co-founder of the successful Real Falafel concept in the Adelaide Central Markets, Matt Lazarus knows first hand the pressure of maintaining a bricks-and-mortar business at this time.
As well as owning a couple of shopfronts, Matt is also a leasing agent with Belle Property on Grote Street and sees the vital role leasing agents can play right now in forging a new business landscape.
This article was produced in partnership with Matt Lazarus of Belle Commercial Property
Contact Matt here.
Above all, Matt says clear and open communication is key.
“More than ever before, we all need to work together to achieve this and to avoid conflicts arising between commercial landlords and tenants,” he says. “Without each other, bricks-and-mortar business will not exist and you cannot have one without the other.”
Matt adds, “I was relieved to see Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the National Cabinet has agreed upon a mandatory code for commercial leases that will protect tenants and landlords alike.”
Matt explains that a commercial property that has a tenant paying rent is in itself a business.
“Commercial landlords are all business people and in my experience, they more often than not make decisions as business people,” he says.
“So if we can look at the challenges ahead and put both heads together to come up with well thought out temporary solutions to any current COVID-19 related business interruption, then the chances are they will always find a way to the other side.”
Matt believes that commercial tenants should also see the opportunity to take up the fight to stay open where possible and keep their businesses alive.
“Businesses now need to think of innovative ways to stay relevant and continue providing value to their customers even if they are restricted from coming into physical contact with them,” Matt says.
“There are so many examples of quick online adaptations for business services, which we have seen over the last few weeks, that have been very inspiring and the definition of entrepreneurial.”
And it is precisely during these times of hardship Matt says Adelaide will see new and dynamic businesses and opportunities arise.
“Commercial leasing agents are going to be realistic about timeframes in the commencement of leases right now, so I’m saying to the business owners and entrepreneurs I meet to not be afraid to enquire about new leasing opportunities and to discuss the future,” he says.
“We all know there will be delays and restrictions in opening a new business in the coming months but now is the best time to start planning for six or nine months in the future.”
One opportunity in particular Matt has on his radar is the former location of Cibo’s iconic original flagship store, on the corner of Rundle and Frome, which he currently has for lease.
CityMag was struck by the vacancy when we first noted it a month or so ago, but Matt assures us it was not COVID-19 related, but rather the end of a 20-year lease Cibo Espresso held on the location since first opening in 1999.
Such a significant building in the history of Adelaide’s food and drink scene offers a unique opportunity in the city. We can imagine several operators who could occupy this location and redefine the precinct with a high-quality daytime restaurant and bar, but before our imagination gets ahead of us, we’ll let you get in touch with those charged with encouraging your aspirations.
218 Rundle Street is one of the city’s most recognisable addresses. This prime 216 square metre tenancy occupies the northwestern corner of Rundle and Frome Street in Adelaide’s premier hospitality and fashion Precinct. Contact Belle Property Commercial Leasing team for more details.