Much has been said recently about Brisbane being regarding by Lonely Planet as “arguably Australia’s hippest city”, an “energetic river town on the way up, with an edgy arts scene, pumping nightlife and great coffee and restaurants”. My 4 year old pointed out to me just the other day the number of cranes in and around the CBD. I tell him that’s Cranky the Crane, Kevin the Crane and Collin the Crane; then I run out of names from the Island of Sodor to label the many others. But, there are clearly plenty of developers attracted to Brisbane at the moment and, with them, the hospitality businesses wanting to have a go.
Mixed use multi-level developments create a broad range of licensing possibilities. Typically, the developer will finish construction of the building and then seek tenants for the ground level shops. The tenant usually has to apply for their own liquor licence to suit their business such as restaurant, cafe or small bar.
However, what many don’t realise is that it is possible for the landowner to obtain liquor licences for each tenancy off the plan, without a sod being turned. For example, a proposed development might contain four tenancies on its ground floor level. The owner can obtain separate liquor licences for each of those proposed tenancies in her/his name and then transfer the licences to the respective tenants. This makes the tenancies more marketable, making it easier to secure restaurant, cafe and small bar operators as the process of transferring a liquor licence is much quicker and cheaper than applying for the licence from scratch. This means there is much less uncertainty for the tenant associated with obtaining a new licence in time for opening.
Another advantage with obtaining multiple licences at once is the economies achieved by use of the same information and material as much of it will be identical for each tenancy. This also makes it easier to pass on the cost of obtaining the liquor licence to the tenant. Not only do they benefit from being licensed sooner, they also get the licence for less money and with minimal input from them.
Over the years, we have found this to be a successful strategy for developers. Of course, there’s nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, than to stand at a built bar ready to go with no beer. And, empty shops mean income is both slim and dusty for landlords. So securing licences early means a more attractive development and ultimately a win-win situation for owners and tenants.