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August 09 Edition Cover

Docklands Spaces wraps up

04 Aug 2016

Docklands Spaces wraps up Image

The Docklands Spaces renewal project has officially concluded, after three years of introducing creative and social enterprises to Docklands.

The program was kick-started in 2013 and has seen 21 different enterprises find a temporary home in Docklands.

Places Victoria, City of Melbourne and Renew Australia initiated the program to allow creative enterprises and local initiatives to activate underutilised spaces across Docklands.

Participants over the three years have included The Food Court community arts space, event planner The Creative Type, gaming creators House House Studio, The Front gallery, women’s cycling business Wheel Women, retailer Revolution Project and film collective PLGRM.

While it was initially a one-year program intended to activate retail spaces in NewQuay Piazza and Harbour Town, it was then extended for a further two years to include commercial spaces in Victoria Harbour.

Renew Australia founder Marcus Westbury said Docklands Spaces had provided invaluable opportunities for dozens of projects, small businesses and creative projects.

“It has helped bring new life and a layer of activity to Docklands,” Mr Westbury said.

“From Renew Australia’s point of view, it has been an invaluable opportunity to work with and learn from the unique dynamic of a new and rapidly-growing part of the city and it has been a catalyst to meet some of the most creative people and projects in Melbourne.”

The program offered participants access to unleased properties on a short-term, rent-free basis with the aim of activating the area.

An added benefit was that the presence of businesses and social enterprises in the formerly-empty properties made them much more attractive to potential commercial tenants.

“Docklands Spaces has been a great success with all but two participating properties sold or leased to long-term commercial tenants,” Places Victoria general manager Simon Wilson said.

“The extent of development in Docklands during the three years that Docklands Spaces ran has improved amenity and attracted more workers, residents and visitors to the precinct, securing more long-term commercial tenants.”

City of Melbourne councillor Kevin Louey said the program was a win-win for all concerned.

“Around 80 per cent of businesses in the City of Melbourne are classified as small businesses. Encouraging start-ups and smaller operators through innovations such as Docklands Spaces contributes to a thriving, sustainable business culture and highlights what can be achieved when we work together,” Cr Louey said.

“This program showcases Docklands as a great place do to business, drives employment and provides valuable goods and services to residents, workers and visitors.”

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