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pop up shops can also refresh & revitalise

There can be many positive outcomes from a well-planned pop up shop : savvy traders efficiently move their out-of-season or excess stock, clever brand managers gain exposure to an audience of targeted consumers – and some (relieved) landlords might see new life breathed back into un-loved properties….

With empty storefronts and “For Lease” signs spreading like wildfire along many of our favourite shopping strips, it can be a challenge for landlords and their commercial agents to sign up new tenants. The preferred outcome for a tenancy is usually to sign up a nice long lease (on favourable terms), but that can take some time….. During which the property sits vacant and other neighbours may also move out, leading to even less variety and local attraction for visitors – and so the foot traffic decreases. Before long, whole neighbourhoods start to suffer as interest wanes and neglect sets in…..

A group of concerned locals in Newcastle, NSW (north of Sydney) recognised a trend of emptiness and decline developing within their city’s centre as far back as 2008 – and have made some positive in-roads to the revitalisation of many properties

Quoting from the Renew Newcastle website :

“Renew Newcastle was founded to help solve the problem of Newcastle’s empty CBD. While the long term prospects for the redevelopment of Newcastle’s CBD are good, in the meantime many sites are boarded up, falling apart, vandalised or decaying because (there) is no short term (use for) them and no one taking responsibility…..  Renew Newcastle finds artists, cultural projects and community groups to use and maintain these buildings until they become commercially viable or are redeveloped”

Around Melbourne, The Chapel Street Precinct (local traders’ association for many businesses in the Toorak, South Yarra, Prahran and Windsor area) is also looking for solutions. In their current 2012:13 Action Plan, the ‘Precinct aims to explore opportunities within “retail spaces…. that are currently vacant, disused, or awaiting redevelopment”. Being a local association the focus would be (quite rightly…) on projects which benefit the community in general, supporting artistic and cultural projects amongst other uses

Marketing Director of Chapel Street Precinct, Oskar Cebergs says there has been some great work done in relation to place management of vacant spaces over the years, also referring to the work of Renew Newcastle. “What we really need is…. to champion the cause in our (own) neighbourhood”

This is obviously a task which requires a fresh approach (and some intense lobbying and clever strategising – to get local governments, landlords and enterprises on board). Encouraging short to medium term occupation of vacant retail spaces would not only provide opportunities and benefits for community projects (and start-up businesses ?) – but should also help to revitalise declining shopping strips and “stop the rot”

Temporary retail, interim solutions, community benefits…. doesn’t this sound like the perfect opportunity to roll out a series of pop up installations ?

 

featured image : Renew Newcastle

 

 

 

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