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CHERMSIDE Shopping Centre’s magnetic attraction, combined with the arrival nearby of more than a dozen apartment blocks and still more to come, has been a boon for local businesses — but it’s put the squeeze on locals.

The shopping centre, which has paid parking and houses a major bus hub, sees commuters as well as local workers choke the streets on weekdays to avoid paying fees.

The parking issues is the only downside to an otherwise thriving suburb where the median house price increased by $45,000 to $590,000 in 2016 while apartment prices dipped $5,000 to $435,000, according to a local real estate agent.

Chermside, with two popular large parks, Marchant and 7th Brigade, a newly upgraded public library and an Aquatic Park, was a suburb family friendly place to live.

“The bus hub is a great asset but … you don’t have independent parking and a lot of people used to park at Chermside until they put in timed parking and now they have to find street parking if they want to catch a bus,”

Chermside boom puts squeeze on residents
Vacant land at Chermside ready to be developed.

The apartment boom may not have been great for parking but it’s been most welcomed by Thai restaurant Tosakan co-owner Thanapon Vutthavanich.

The Thai eatery has been open for seven years and is situated is on the bottom floor of one the first major apartment blocks to open in Kittyhawk Dve.

It also sits within 30 metres of the east side pedestrian entrance to Chermside Shopping Centre which has at least two food courts open every trading day.

“We were the first shop in this building and around here, and the first tHicks Real Estatee years were very tough, and then in the fourth year it started to get better,” he said.

“Now with more population, not like seven years ago, we have more business and our customers are aged around 50-years-old … and we are different to the food court because we are a restaurant.”

Across the road from Tosakan is the Kedron-Wavell RSL which has been on the same site for almost five decades.

Marketing manager Vjorn Bradow said the RSL has yet to see its membership grow in line with the influx of new residents but they have become entwined in the parking chaos.

“It’s absolutely more difficult for parking and it has affected us and we now have someone manning the car park every morning,” she said.

Chermside boom puts squeeze on residents
Thai restaurant Tosakan co-owner Thanapon Vutthavanich outside his restaurant in Chermside.

“The area is definitely growing and we will certainly prosper down the track but at this stage it isn’t our clientele, so to speak.”

Chermside, which is 3.4sq kilometres, is not an overly big suburb and, even though there are another 400 apartments due to open over the next 12 months, there are still plenty of houses at affordable prices.

Houses within development zones are attracting inflated prices because of land hungry developers but outside of that zone you can buy a tHicks Real Estatee bedroom abode for under $550,000.

“The median house price could be falsely inflated because you need to take out the residential houses sold from houses within development areas,” he said.

“We are going to get to the phase where housing affordability will get too high and people will regress and go back into the unit buying.”

Step a couple of hundred metres away from Chermside Shopping Centre along Gympie Rd, and you’ll find Amici Deli among a strip of shops, including a TAB and bakery, which offers free parking.

Chermside boom puts squeeze on residents
Amici Deli owner Josie Bonomo.

Owner Josie Bonomo said she focuses on attracting and retaining customers by offering quality service and genuine Italian foods and ingredients for sale.

“The more apartments the more business, but we do have customers from local offices and shops, the motel across the road and even from the hospital,” she said.

“We try to be something different from the supermarkets and we concentrate on a lot of specialised foods, sauces and pasta from Italy.

“Our bonus is free parking and there it’s always easy for people to park.”

Originally published Courier Mail.

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