By Andy Young
The Endeavour Drinks Group (EDG) has said that it is still open to building its first Dan Murphy’s store in Darwin and is hoping to have further positive discussions with the Northern Territory Government.
Last year EDG submitted plans to build an 1800-square metre store as part of a new $40m commercial development close to Darwin Airport. However the Territory’s Government introduced a law in December last year that limited the floor size of bottleshops to 400-square metres.
Although some reports have indicated that move has seen EDG pull out of building its proposed store, a spokesperson for the Group told TheShout that they were continuing discussions with the Government and were hopeful they would still be able to continue with the store's development.
"We have full confidence in the Government vision for Darwin to be the 'great capital' of Northern Australia, and want to build a store that reflects positively on that vision and is a source of local pride worthy of showcasing to international tourists and interstate visitors,” the spokesperson said.
“We've consulted with the local community who have overwhelmingly (69 per cent) thought the idea of bringing a Dan Murphy's to Darwin was a good idea and will embrace the opportunity to shop its range and discover unique, boutique and rare wines, beer and spirits at unbeatable prices.”
The spokesperson added: “Unfortunately a last minute change in regulations has made that challenging as it strictly limits the store to only 400-square metres, where our plans were for a much larger area that would properly showcase one of Australia's largest and rarest range of wines, beers, and spirits.
“We are simply asking for a fair go and our application to be considered on its merits. We look forward to discussing our plans further with the Government to hopefully bring this vision to life.”
The NT’s Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, said this week that his Government was still willing to negotiate with EDG about the new Dan’s store.
“We haven’t actually said no to Dan’s,” Gunner told News Limited. “I recognise they have a business model around 1200-square metres of retail space. Labor’s 400-square metre size limitation is actually a very big retail floor space, but I’m prepared to have a discussion with Dan Murphy’s about our policy.”
He added: “We’ve got to have the conversation. As I’ve shown, I’m a Chief Minister that will listen and respond. Dan’s and Woolies need to understand where we’re coming from.”
NT Airports’ Property Director Ross Baynes told the ABC that NT Airports was not consulted about the floor policy and that the company now had concerns about the airport expansion plans if Dan Murphy’s was not involved.
"Yes it does [put the surrounding developments at risk], because we've secured some tenants around this tenant, and without them as the anchor, the other tenants in all likelihood will withdraw," Baynes said.