New retail and food village hits North Queensland
DFO Cairns is set to become the home of a new outdoor retail, entertainment and food precinct following a major revamp by owners, Sentinel Property Group.
The $10 million ‘DFOOD’ village is being hailed as North Queensland’s incarnation of Brisbane’s high profile ‘Eat Street’ markets and features a children’s playground area, green space, outdoor LED movie screen and upgraded entrances and facilities in addition to a variety of new cafes and restaurants.
Warren Ebert, Sentinel Property Group Managing Director, said the DFOOD precinct will showcase the best of Cairns retail and food in a family-friendly environment.
“DFOOD will be a food village where people can not only indulge in great food but also enjoy watching big games or events on the outdoor screen,” Ebert said.
“We want this to be a family friendly space for locals. This will be an opportunity for local community organizations, TAFE colleges, sporting groups and other charitable organizations to showcase their ideas and make great food offerings to raise money,”
For prospective retailers and food outlets, the DFOOD village presents a rare opportunity to crack the highly coveted North Queensland market.
Michael Sherlock, Sentinel Property Group Chief Marketing Officer said the space was already gaining traction among franchise operators and quick service restaurant (QSR) brands.
“We have created approx. 1000 sqm of retail space, including 6 to 8 tenancies, as well as a 1500 sqm outdoor entertainment and recreation area,” Sherlock said.
“We have some tenants in the final stages of negotiations, but the details are currently commercial in confidence. We are also in discussions with a number of franchised QSR operators/prospective tenants.”
While tenancies for the space are filling quickly, Sherlock said the opportunity for seasonal and rotating offerings will further develop the village as a fresh cultural experience.
“The DFOOD concept is a twist on the suburban shopping centre food court offering. We wanted to create a family-oriented outdoor al fresco eating and entertainment destination for the Cairns community. DFOOD provides a day and night time food and play destination for locals with plenty of parking so they don’t have to travel into the Cairns CBD. DFO Cairns is also well connected with public transport,” Sherlock said.
“So far, we are working with a European/Italian restaurant offering wood fired pizzas, a gourmet burger and craft beer bar, a Sushi Station, Poke, and an ice creamery but there will be many more food and drink offerings such as food trucks, pop ups and foodie mini music festivals and market stalls onsite on special occasions.”
The introduction of the new precinct comes after continued success in the area for Sentinel, with prominent retailers such as Oakley, Catalog Clothing and Travelite opening in the last 12 months.
“We have already had a tremendous response from tenants and customers since the DFOOD upgrade was recently completed,” Sherlock said.
“The feedback has been terrific, and people are genuinely excited by the new amenities, particularly the outdoor playground which allows children to play while parents eat and relax. There is also great anticipation about the new businesses coming to the centre and the outdoor entertainment on the big screen.”