Mal’z Deli in Scarborough forced to vacate shop for Psaros apartment development

Leaseholder Simon Mackenzie with his sons Lucas (10) and Nathan (7). Picture: Marcus Whisson d427774
Leaseholder Simon Mackenzie with his sons Lucas (10) and Nathan (7). Picture: Marcus Whisson d427774

SCARBOROUGH shop owner Simon Mackenzie says he is heartbroken at being forced out of his deli when his lease expires to make way for a multi-storey apartment development.

Mr Mackenzie said he began leasing the 1930s building in August 2012 with the intention of operating out of the corner shop for a long time to come.

He received a letter earlier this year from developer Psaros, informing him of plans to build an apartment block at the site.

Mr Mackenzie said he had spent more than $160,000 restoring the shop to operate as a deli and cafe, named after his late uncle Mal, and could not contemplate being forced out once his lease expires in three years.

‘If everything goes to plan (for Psaros), the letters say I’ll have three years left on my lease but if I get out by next year, they’ll offer me $75,000,’ he said. ‘Otherwise, if I wait the three-year term, I’ll quite possibly have nothing.

‘I don’t want to think about it, my whole life has been adjusted to this deli. I’m 34 now and I’ve just mortgaged my mum’s house for the next 10 years and now this; I don’t know what to do.’

Psaros sales director Sven Robinson said he was surprised Mr Mackenzie felt the way he did.

‘We understand our obligations under the lease and have no problem if the tenant wishes to stay and trade on under the terms of his current lease,’ Mr Robinson said. ‘In the event, however, that the tenant wished to vacate following the change in ownership of the property, the tenant has been offered the opportunity to surrender his tenancy at a profit that exceeded the time that remains on the lease.’

But the single father of two said the 80-year-old corner shop held significant sentimental value to his family.

‘Anyone that buys an old house and spends two-and-a-half years doing it up, for someone to come along and tell you that they’re going to take it away from you certainly pulls on heart strings,’ Mr Mackenzie said.

Mr Robinson said Psaros was excited at the opportunity to develop in Scarborough, an area he said was experiencing a renaissance through community and social infrastructural development as part of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority’s renewal of the area.

Mr Robinson said Psaros was looking at reconstructing the facade of Mal’z deli to feature prominently in the new development. If approved, construction will begin in the first half of 2016 and take about two years.