Rundle Mall Management Authority Statement Regarding Activations in Rundle Mall.
Combeeze are not being evicted from Rundle Mall. Combeeze entered into a commercial agreement to trade from Rundle Mall three years ago, which is due to expire on 30 June 2017. This expiry date has remained unchanged since its commencement in 2014. The business was reminded of this expiration in February and subsequently informed of the Rundle Mall Management Authority’s (RMMA) commercial decision to not offer an additional permit upon the expiration.
Combeeze had the privilege of being one of the first operators to trade from the newly refurbished Rundle Mall, but this does not afford them the right to ongoing trade in one location indefinitely. The intention of activation zones as part of the Rundle Mall Redevelopment has always been to allow for short term use of the Mall itself by plug-n-play operators.
When RMMA advised Combeeze of the decision to not offer a new permit, it was accompanied with an explanation which included reminders of a number of breaches of their permit. The breaches include repeated late payments of rent, and instances of unsafe behaviour from the operators occurring in the Mall involving members of RMMA staff, contractors and the public. We also understand that the lessee company was de-registered late last year, which forms a fundamental breach of the relationship. This breach potentially gave RMMA the right to evict Combeeze from the Mall before the permit expiration date. We chose not to in favour of allowing them to trade until the end of the existing permit term.
RMMA has asked Combeeze to provide a proposal to reconsider the Combeeze offer with some fresh approaches, but the proposal was never received. The operators were not willing to participate in these negotiations.
Combeeze is a commercial business, ultimately operating for commercial outcomes. The charitable activity undertaken by the business serves a worthy cause, however does not take away from their responsibilities under their commercial lease arrangement.
The Permit provided by the RMMA allows the use of our public space for mobile business operation, not being able to trade from the Mall does not impact on Combeeze ability to trade as a mobile business elsewhere and continue its good work supporting the homeless from other locations in Adelaide.
At RMMA it is our responsibility to offer fair and equitable conditions for all our tenants. It is also our responsibility to ensure the safety and positive experience of all who, live, work and use the Mall on a daily basis. In order to do this, we need to be able to exercise our right as a lessor to hold permit holders to account for breaches and ensure they operate within the guidelines set out for all who have agreements to trade in the Mall. We also need to be able to alter the service and retail offering in the Mall to continue to offer visitors new and vibrant food, beverage and shopping experiences.
The RMMA does not tolerate poor behaviour, we do not tolerate poor business operation at the expense of providing other local business with an opportunity to trade, and we do not tolerate situations that place members of the public at risk.
We believe we are making a responsible decision for our community and members of the public. We are taking this action on their behalf.