Activity increasing in Docklands
It’s hard to believe we’re already heading into Easter holidays, and as a business owner, the end of the financial year seems like it’s just around the corner.
So, how has Docklands been performing for those of us so invested in seeing it thrive once again?
Firstly, I am pleased to report that our local economy continues to show signs of resilience in the face of ongoing challenges. While we are not yet out of the woods when it comes to the impact of COVID-19, we have seen a steady increase in foot traffic and economic activity in recent months, with city worker foot traffic at 77.4 per cent in February, up from 60 per cent at the end of January.
With footy off to a flying start at Marvel Stadium and corporates reporting to us that they’re consistently coming in at least three days a week for larger-style collaboration and team building events, our local businesses have risen to the occasion by providing high-quality experiences for our visitors.
There are also a number of exciting events coming up that set to drive visitation. Of course, the Grand Prix and Melbourne Comedy Festival are massive highlights, as will be the seven AFL games in April at Marvel.
Historically many small to medium businesses have been supported by transient foot traffic moving in and out of the Docklands precinct for work purposes within national corporate offices, as well as the residential community. With the current absence of full occupancy in offices, what really excites me is the potential of reimagining our local economy by thinking creatively, laterally, or perhaps just … big.
A brilliant local example of this is the Docklands Studio which has become home to the world’s biggest virtual production filmmaking facility, with the unveiling this month of a 40-foot-high (12.19-metre), 6000-screen facility.
Called a “virtual production stage”, it’s a type of facility that has been dubbed the next big thing in film and TV. The studio is expected to attract major film and TV productions, which will bring additional spending to the area, including on accommodation, transport, and local businesses.
The project has received support from local government officials, who see it as a major opportunity to boost economic growth and development in the Docklands area.
Other creative ways we have seen office space filled here is by the opening of shared working spaces in the area, all which also bring talent from tech start-ups and emerging businesses into our precinct. All of these changes in our local workforce are encouraging and connect into our new vision of Docklands.
Of course, there are still challenges ahead, and we must continue to work together as a community to address them.
One area of concern top of mind for me is how our small businesses are adapting. There are a number of options we have to support businesses including the upcoming Small Business Bus scheduled to visit on April 5 at 850 Collins St, Docklands. The Small Business Bus is a mobile office on wheels, travelling throughout Victoria offering free one-on-one business advice and financial counselling services to current and prospective small business owners and operators.
A session can be made via the link here or walk-up on the day, subject to availability.
As we move forward into the month of April, I encourage all members of the Docklands Chamber of Commerce to remain engaged and involved in our community.
By working together, we can continue to build a strong and vibrant business precinct and community overall. •