Avalon Town Centre

Retail Analysis

The community raised several concerns regarding Avalon Town Centre during consultation, undertaken as part of the Avalon Place Plan.

One of the key areas of concern raised by the local community related to the economic vitality and vibrancy of the local retail centre. Particularly, many locals were concerned about the amount of vacant retail space, perceived high retail rents, seasonal fluctuations and associated impact upon business outside of peak periods, and the lack of night/evening life.

In response to these concerns, HillPDA was commissioned by the Northern Beaches Council to undertake a retail analysis for Avalon Town Centre (the study).


A comprehensive and highly visual study was provided to Council which included the following key deliverables:

  1. A detailed land use survey of Avalon Town Centre. This was undertaken to better understand its current mixture of floorspace, vacancy rate and land use pattern.
  2. Having identified Avalon’s current vacancy rate, a discussion on the importance for allowing some level of vacancy within commercial centres was provided. Identification of a number of factors/influences that that can contribute to high vacancy rates was provided with their relevance and context to Avalon being provided.
  3. We then discussed what a “health vacancy rate” for a typical centre of Avalon’s size was. This “healthy vacancy rate” allowance was grounded in research of other seaside towns and various centres across Sydney. Avalon’s current vacancy rate was then compared to this “healthy rate”.
  4. To provide some context on how Avalon was performing in its local context, a comparative analysis was undertaken which benchmarked various land use and socio-economic metrics against Newport and Narrabeen centres. These metrics included size of population catchments, forecast population growth, potential retail spend, retail floorspace growth, night-time economy activity, vacancy rates, current floorspace mixture and location/number of anchor tenants.
  5. Direct consultant with local businesses and agents was then undertaken to asses if Avalon had comparatively higher rents when compared to Newport and Narrabeen. It was felt that these higher rents could be deterring or push tenants out of the centre and hence contributing to its perceived high vacancy rate.
  6. Lastly, the study provided a concise review of 15 key factors that contribute to a successful retail centre. Following this, nine best practice measures that Council could use to revitalise the centre were provided with real world examples provided for each.


  • Land use surveys
  • Comparative analysis
  • Market intelligence/research
  • Retail demand modelling
  • Discussion on what is a “health vacancy rate”
  • Identification of 15 key factors that contribute to successful strip retailing
  • SWOT analysis
  • Best practice measures used to revitalise retail centres.

Client: Northern beaches Council
Project date: June 2019 – October 2019


For more information, contact Nicholas Hill, Associate


For more Information or to discuss your next project, get in touch.