Looking ahead to 2023 in Docklands
By Daniel Hibberd - President
Docklands Chamber of Commerce
It’s encouraging to see that the big corporates’ promise to bring their employees back to the office is finally beginning to come to life in Docklands.
Office occupancy data was released in late November indicating that Melbourne occupancy for October has risen again. According to the City of Melbourne, it was 45 per cent, up 10 per cent from September.
Can we see this reflected in our community? We’ve seen our businesses busier than they’ve been during the past couple of years, with corporates starting to come into work at least two to three days a week, with the most popular days looking like Tuesday to Thursday.
While this is positive, it is clear there is still some progress to make around the return to workplaces in 2023.
However, the increase in visitation and activity is not just about our corporates returning to the office. We’ve recently seen more leisure visitors than ever come into Docklands which is aiding to supplement foot traffic and somewhat fill the void of less corporate presence. The opening of our newest hotel located at Waterfront Way early next year also speaks to the excitement and ongoing confidence surrounding our precinct.
And, why not? Summer’s looking like it’s going to be a ripper. We have Christmas activations galore coming to the precinct, many of which we are either sponsoring, partnering or managing.
There’s full-day, Christmas-themed fun starting on December 10 at 12pm at Ron Barrassi Senior Park, which includes an Aussie Christmas barbeque, free ice cream, DJ, loads of organised sports, dance classes, yoga and even a visit from Santa.
This then leads on perfectly to The District Docklands Twilight Christmas Markets, where regular traders will be extending their hours supported by entertainment, market stalls and food trucks.
The following Saturday we are supporting the NewQuay Twilight Christmas Markets activating the entire promenade. We’re expecting 60 market stalls, loads of entertainers and, of course, another visit from Santa. We’re also told that this New Years’ Eve celebrations will be the largest in history and we all know Docklands is the focus point for fireworks.
Summer doesn’t stop there though with Live Nation in partnership with The District Docklands presenting District Live – six hours of food, entertainment and music every Saturday in January. Which somewhat hints to the whispers of Live Nation having an enormous festival scale entertainment site on Footscray Rd.
This recent $5 million investment into a 3500-capacity open air festival and music venue from the state government has opened up many questions: what is Docklands? Is it an entertainment precinct? Is it a residential precinct? A place for corporates to come into the office?
The answer is that it’s all those things and you can add in a few more dynamics as well. We welcome it all – the school, restaurants, bars, the charter boats, clubs, library and the new events starting to find their home in our cherished precinct.
The world of work has certainly adapted, but so have we. As hard as it was, there’s no doubt COVID has forced us to understand the true multi-dimensional potential of Docklands. I’m looking forward to working with all of you to unlock that vision in 2023. •