Initial assessments of the devastation that the recent flooding has caused at Toombul Shopping Centre revealed that many of the 140 shops could remain closed for six to eight months and the cost of rebuilding may force some tenants to close permanently.
“We can confirm the centre and car park are closed and will remain this way for some time. Our specialist consultants have assessed the damage and the initial assessments show that the inundation has caused extensive damage,” the Mirvac statement posted on social media reads.
“This is the worst flood we have seen at Toombul and the impact is devastating, not only for us, but for all our retailers, many of whom are small business owners. Our priority is working with and supporting all our retailers.”
The rain bomb that battered the city for days has hit Toombul Shopping Centre hard, leaving dozens of shops with mud-ruined equipment and stocks. Toombul retailers say that the recent inundation was different from the 2011 flood in that it is the first time that flood water has penetrated the shopping centre’s ground-floor shops.
Mirvac said that it is too early to ascertain when the centre could reopen but estimates a 24- to 32-week window. However, many small retailers fear that they may not be able to afford the cost of rebuilding considering the extent of damage which could mean that they would need to start from scratch.
Some of these tenants do not have insurance either because of the cost or because no insurer was willing to cover flood risk. Other store owners who do have insurance fear that their insurers might classify the event as a flood, making them unqualified to claim for storm damage.
For now, some traders have reopened on temporary premises whilst major shops had employees deployed to other locations. But the closure of the Toombul Shopping Centre not only impacted shop owners but their loyal customers as well who are now forced to shop elsewhere.
To mitigate the impact on Toombul Shopping Centre customers, particularly the elderly shoppers, Council’s cab services have been adjusted to provide other destination options including Westfield Chermside and Lutwyche Shopping Centre. Customers will be advised of the available alternative at the time of booking.
Toombul Shopping Centre was opened in 1967 by Westfield Group and was Brisbane northside’s largest shopping centre then. Mirvac acquired the centre in 2016 and opened Upstairs Toombul, a new dining precinct anchored by Archie Brothers.