More vacant shopfronts across Melbourne will be reimagined into retail pop-ups, creative spaces and bespoke displays, as City of Melbourne Council expands its $2.6 million Shopfront Activation Program into 2023.
Lord Mayor, Sally Capp says the program’s footprint will reactivate more areas of the municipality than ever before – including Errol and Victoria Streets in North Melbourne, Bellair Street and Macaulay Road in Kensington, and new areas across Docklands and the CBD.
“The city is abuzz with the best of Melbourne’s entrepreneurs, artists and makers, who have been bringing their uniquely Melbourne offerings to empty shopfronts across the city,” said the Lord Mayor.
“From quirky experiences like the infamous Karen’s Diner, to the creation of new retail and fashion precincts, we’re showing no signs of slowing down with our Shopfront Activation Program.
“We’re proud to keep this program going and ramping up our efforts to revitalise more silent spaces – supporting local jobs and boosting footfall and visitation.
“We’ll also be spreading our wings, bringing even more shopfronts back to life in new areas such as the city’s beloved Degraves Street, Errol Street in North Melbourne and more,” she said.
Council says the program has created an invaluable opportunity for 40 established and aspiring businesses and creatives impacted by the pandemic to reach new customers and test their distinct offerings in the heart of Melbourne.
It has supported five businesses in planting permanent roots in the city, such as Mr Cuff, This Is Not a Toy Store and TOKA Exchange in the CBD, Lygon Street’s ELK Womenswear, and Yesign Chocolate Gallery in Docklands.
A further seven tenants have extended their leases following successful short-term stints, Council said.
“We’ve seen some incredible success stories thanks to the Shopfront Activation Program – watching businesses blossom with several tenants extending their leases, and others becoming permanent City of Melbourne fixtures,” said Business and Global Opportunities portfolio lead Councillor, Kevin Louey.
“We’re proud to be continuing our support of emerging and established Melbourne businesses and creatives.”
The Shopfront Activation Program is part of the $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund – a partnership between the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government.
The program is delivered in partnership with property acquisition and leasing specialists Renew Australia, The Place Agency and Ginnane & Associates.
“The Government is backing our CBD to bounce back stronger than ever – it’s great to see creative initiatives like this that allow our talented artists and creators to make the most of underused spaces,” said Minister for Industry Support and Recovery, Ben Carroll.