New apartment developments in inner-city Sydney often contain a component of commercial floor space. A retail tenancy at the base of an apartment building can be a good spot for a caf?convenience store or laundromat.

This has multiple benefits both for the developer and for the community. It can help recover building costs through rental income while at the same time providing services to residents. It also means that the development can offer something back to the community in the form of goods or services as well as helping to enliven the street edge.

Local councils may require a developer to include such tenancies as part of their development proposal. Some will even specify what type of occupants the tenancies should have, such as a child care centre, based on needs within the local community.

This type of tenancy is usually an unfurnished concrete shell with basic power and plumbing so you will need to look after the fit-out. Getting an interior designer or architect to help will generally make the process easier and more satisfying but may not be warranted for all tenancies. Fit-out costs will need to be factored into your feasibility calculations.

In the case of a caf?r restaurant you may want to think about outdoor seating, but remember to notify the local council if the seating is to be on a public footpath as it may not be allowed. Suspended signage and sandwich boards will also need to be cleared by council.

Renting such a retail space can be lucrative, especially in densely populated inner-city areas, but only if the services offered are in demand. A convenience store will thrive under a large block of flats, but not if there are already three others in the area. Similarly a new caf?ay struggle to survive if there are already established ones nearby.

It is sensible to conduct a feasibility study before investing in such an enterprise. Is there sufficient demand for the services offered? Are you targeting the right demographic for the location? Is there a sufficiently large population in the area to support your business? Is there a problem with parking or access for people in wheelchairs or with prams?

Check out other similar businesses nearby and analyse how well they are doing. Talk to business owners and local residents as well as to the council about your ideas. Finally a financial analysis will help you work out whether your business has a future.

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