By Aimee Chanthadavong

Melbourne’s Bridge Road and Sydney’s Oxford Street are only two streets among many in Australia that are overridden by ‘for lease’ and ‘for sale’ signs as a result of many retailers deciding to close up to shop.

To help address this problem, Simon Hanlon launched, an online site aimed at connecting owners of retail and other commercial spaces directly with tenants on typically shorter and more flexible terms.

“Retail is probably the most obvious category in terms of vacancy numbers,” he said.

“There are a few reasons for this, including high rent and a shift in the business landscape where people want space for different reasons like a pop-up store to complement their online offering.

“While there is still demand for traditional long term retail leases, there is a lot of disconnect between what retailers are after as tenants. They are not able to get the flexibility and transparency they want from agents when they are looking for a space.

“Also, often tenants search through general classifieds but they’re usually showing places that offer longer term leases and are quite expensive.

"So makes the leasing process pretty frictionless and lets tenants to search for vacancies and they can rent them on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis.”

There are currently 225 commercial spaces listed on the site divided into categories, including retail, office, warehouse, studio and gallery. So far there have been more than 150 connections made since the site was launched in May 2013.

“The goal is to become ‘Australia’s number one marketplace for short-term space,” Hanlon said.