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The City of Melbourne's Latest Revival Plan Will See Empty Shopfronts Reimagined as Pop-Up Creative Spaces

More than 75 vacant storefronts are set to be temporarily and creatively transformed in a push to re-energise the city.
By Libby Curran
August 04, 2021
By Libby Curran
August 04, 2021

Multiple lockdowns and public health restrictions have taken a heavy toll on the city, forcing some businesses to hang up their 'closed' sign for good. But, the streets in Melbourne's CBD could soon look a little livelier again, under a new initiative set to transform vacant shopfronts into new creative spaces and curated pop-up stores.

As part of the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government's joint Melbourne City Recovery Fund, a $2.6 million shopfront activation program is designed to re-energise some of the city's quieter pockets by breathing new life into empty spaces. It'll activate more than 75 shopfronts located in areas with high vacancy rates, which includes Docklands, Carlton's Lygon Street and the eastern end of the CBD grid.

Artwork by Matteo Volpi

Building owners and leasing agents are invited to put forward any currently unused spaces as part of the program. A panel of suppliers will then help connect them with creatives and entrepreneurs, and arrange flexible, short-term licence agreements that'll allow the spaces to be temporarily reimagined. Expect everything from vibrant artworks and mini galleries; to retail pop-ups showcasing local artisan homewares.

"This shopfront activation program will give free space to artists, budding entrepreneurs and artisan makers to test their business ideas and help attract Melburnians back into the city," explained Lord Mayor Sally Capp.

Other initiatives already rolled out as part of the $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund include the outdoor dining permit scheme, the Docklands Dollars program and the Urban Blooms project — which saw giant floral works installed in laneways, streets and public spaces across the city during summer.

Building owners and leasing agents can register their interest in the shopfront activation program by submitting a query online. Further details are available here.

Top Shopfront Image: Supplied by City of Melbourne, artwork by Tara Whalley.

Published on August 04, 2021 by Libby Curran


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