Region, as the name suggests, has malls from Townsville in Queensland, to Moama and Lismore in NSW, which were hit by natural disasters in the past year.
Mellowes said in the case of the floods at Lismore on the NSW north coast, the immediate priority was to ensure the community continued to have access to essential goods such as groceries and pharmaceuticals.
“We started by initially supporting the local community through our Goonellabah centre, which is four kilometres away on high land so not impacted by the flooding, and by providing a temporary tenancy solution to retail partners at Lismore Central,” he said.
Region chief operating officer Mark Fleming added the company fast-tracked the opening of temporary stores within the centre including a Woolworths outlet which was opened within two weeks of the floods, while others including a chemist and newsagency were opened within five weeks of the floods.
“We are becoming the centre of the community, whether that’s disaster relief, whether that’s retail, whether it’s last-mile logistics, whether it’s medical, medical or whether it’s generation of electricity through solar panels,” Fleming said.
Fleming added for investors, the strong demand for neighbourhood centres has continued to accelerate since June 2021 and is reflected in the attractive yields for this asset class compared to other property classes.
“We are also seeing an increase in the volume of transactions with each state recording strong results,” Fleming said.
The group is also focused on its climate footprint and has engaged AECOM to produce in-depth climate risk assessments and design programs to improve resilience and prepare for climate-related events.
The six centres that were part of Region’s initial Asset Climate Change Impact Assessments were spread across NSW, the Whitsundays in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. These malls were affected by heat, flooding and extreme rainfall from cyclones.
Mellowes said Region is working on developing Climate Resilience Action Plans over the next year for 11 of its centres in areas with a high risk of cyclonic conditions.
“This will involve consultation with local emergency services and local authorities, to formalise the role of each of Region’s centres and embed them within the local disaster relief plans, to ensure the ongoing supply of
essentials to impacted communities and potentially the use of the centres as evacuation shelters,” he said.
Region will also focus on installing solar shades across car parking areas; larger box guttering to drain heavy rainfall; larger footings and thicker slabs; larger overland water drains and cyclonic resilient and water resilient cladding materials.
“Region’s centres will continue to grow and make a significant contribution to local communities across metro and regional Australia and to adapt to emerging structural changes, with climate change transition being a key area of focus,” Mellowes said.
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