And now Adelaide is set to pop…
Until recently, there didn’t seem to be much happening with pop up shops in Adelaide – despite the South Australian capital’s CBD suffering the same challenges of vacant shop fronts and dwindling foot traffic as other shopping precincts… The last remaining cinema in the city has closed due to a “decline in attendance” and the “Retail gets Physical Report – First Half 2013” by Colliers International suggests a prime CBD mall vacancy rate of 3.3% – highest of the mainland Australian CBD malls (average of 2.16%). I’d say there’s very a good argument in favour of some pop-up intervention… and thankfully it may just be coming along soon.
Adelaide does have spurts of pop up activity – around the time of the Fringe Festival (“one of the world’s great art events” – late February to mid March each year) there seems a flurry of temporary bars and initiatives supporting the fringe venues and audiences. But then… it stops.
In April this year Startup Smart reported on an Adelaide City Council initiative to support food trucks and mobile vendors within the city streets… but also commented on resistance from within Council’s own ranks (the pop-up fad has gone too far…).
As I commented to Startup Smart back then …“(pop-up food vans) may be a challenge to the traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses… but that’s kind of missing the point… If there’s an opportunity for a pop-up anything … that’s an opportunity worth pursuing. It’s all to do with invigorating streetscapes, and keeping neighbourhoods interesting and vibrant”.
More recently, The Advertiser / Adelaide Now reported on the Rundle Mall Management Authority’s proposal to invite up to 50 mobile businesses to participate in re-vamped Mall spaces, opening in phases over the next year or so. They have an interesting concept – eventually rotating a mix of businesses through 15 locations within the Mall… different vendors operating out of the same spaces over the course of a day. The objective is to provide opportunities for existing businesses and entrepreneurs, whilst creating a dynamic destination for visitors and encouraging the other traders to stay open longer. Ouch. In the (somewhat conservative) City of Adelaide… you can imagine the comments being made on that proposal !
Melbourne’s Herald Sun ran an update on the Mall story this week, describing the response of nearly 40 “city businesses and entrepreneurs” who have expressed positive interest in the scheme. The Adelaide City Council has also announced significant funding to support the activation of laneways, upper levels of buildings and empty shopfronts – “to improve the look of the mall precinct or help boost the city’s evening economy”
All this should be a fantastic bonus for the Adelaide CBD, and I’ll be watching the implementation, results and comments (!) with great interest…
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