By Aimee Chanthadavong

Queensland property company Reed Property Group is adding to its Maroochydore holdings with the purchase of Ryan Plaza for an undisclosed amount.

The 2,696 square metre site will add to Reed’s holdings in the area, including the adjoining 2.4 hectare Big Top Shopping Centre, with belief it will help cement Ocean Street in Maroochydore as a key entertainment precinct.

Ryan Plaza includes a tenant mix of blue chip commercial tenants including Westpac Bank, Wide Bay Australia, Aussie Home Loans and Otium Group Accounting. There’s also the ever-popular The Piano Bar and soon-to-be open The Green Out Healthy Café and Bar.

Reed Property group managing director Ken Reed told RetailBiz the purchase is strategic acquisition that aligns with the company’s long term vision for the area.

“The State Government has recently declared Maroochydore as the Principal Development Area and the Council has designated Maroochydore as the Principal Activity Centre for the Sunshine Coast with significant investments in the region,” he said.

“Together with the vision and drive of the Maroochydore Revitalisation Association, our plans for Big Top Market Fresh as a fresh, local and convenient food destination and the success of existing venues such as Solbar and The Piano Bar, Ocean Street is well positioned to be the leading entertainment and dining precinct, similar to Lygon Street in Melbourne and West End or Little Stanley Street in Brisbane.”

Earlier this year, Reed announced a $20 million refurbishment of the Big Top Shopping Centre to create a new retailing concept is focused on fresh, local and convenient.

Scheduled to open in 2014 as Big Top Market Fresh, the redevelopment will offer fresh food markets featuring local growers on traditional market days, as well as a Friday night Artisan market. It will be anchored by a Woolworths Supermarket and supported by other specialty stores, including a pharmacy, newsagent, bottle shop, cafes, clothing and homeware stores.

“Currently, discretionary spending on food is high but other areas, such as fashion and luxury goods is falling. The rise in popularity of cooking shows, the celebrity chef and a focus on quality food is convincing remains to pressure this direction towards creating a real food destination. There has been a huge growth in the popularity of farmers' markets, not just here but also in the UK and the USA. The consumer's desire to understand where their food has come from and to lead a more natural and sustainable life is a trend that is impacting traditional retail. The focus for Big Top Market Fresh is on fresh, local and convenient,” Reed said.

“We will be supporting the local grower by providing an all-weather CBD location for them to sell direct to the consumer and the consumer will have a one-stop-shop to purchase their farm fresh foods as well as other necessities, all under the one roof with convenient and ample parking. According to independent research, specialty retail stores can expect up to a 30 per cent increase in foot traffic during market days, so everyone benefits from this concept.”