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‘It’s wiped me out’: Jim Demetrios one of 140 Brisbane businesses shut by Mirvac

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Jim Demetrios is one of 140 retail business owners who has been impacted by Mirvac’s decision to permanently close Toombul Shopping Centre in Brisbane, Queensland, A Current Affair (ACA) has reported.

According to a statement provided to ACA, the Australian property developer decided not to reopen the site after it sustained “catastrophic damage” during the floods which hit the city in February this year.

Toombul Shopping Centre management say flooding caused “extensive damage to the centre across all major services, base building services and infrastructure”. Photo: supplied to ABC News by Catherine Strutton

“The Centre’s electricity, fire and air-conditioning systems, lifts and escalators were all significantly damaged,” Mirvac’s CEO and Managing Director, Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, said in the statement.

“The site was then impacted by mould and was declared hazardous and not safe for people to access without the appropriate safety equipment.”

The news that Mirvac would close the northside site permanently came as a shock to many business owners.

Mr Demetrios told ACA he had been a tenant of Mirvac’s for 13 years and although his ground-floor Hairhouse Warehouse shop was inundated during the floods, he had expected to reopen.

“To get your lease terminated after so many years… it’s just wiped me out,” he said.

“I’ve got lots of my fellow tenants here who, just like myself, have lost everything. What are we to do? I’m homeless.”

Toombul site. Photo: ABC Radio Brisbane / Lucy Stone

The closure comes as Mirvac this year has reported a 61% increase in statutory profit, nearing $1 billion.

“Mirvac’s annual report says that the purpose that drives them is to ‘do the right thing’,” local MP, Anika Wells, said. “I am begging them to do the right thing.”

In response, Mirvac said in its statement that tenants have not been charged rent or ordered to pay any other costs since the flooding event. They also confirmed a support package was on the way for businesses.

“We have been discussing individual circumstances with our retail partners and we will be providing all retailers with a Support Package of three months’ rent,” the Mirvac CEO said.

Ms Lloyd-Hurwitz assured tenants the support package is in addition to previously announced support which:

  • waived all debts incurred during Covid to the flooding,
  • paid for the removal of retailers’ fit-out and stock,
  • connected retailers with new property sites,
  • provided free storage for retailers awaiting a new tenancy, and
  • assisted retailers in designing new fit-outs at new sites.

SOURCE: 9NOW

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