The two structures, known as Lanterns, were closed in early March and the building interiors have been gutted. The next stage is to repurpose the Lantern structures so they can be used on a temporary basis for pop-up-style tenancies suitable for businesses, micro retailers, creatives and start-ups.
The buildings will be refurbished to include a servery window that opens onto the Mall. The project is expected to be completed by the end of September.
The initiative is to stimulate activity and bring new business and retail attractions to the pedestrianised area on a regular basis throughout the year.
City of Greater Bendigo Director Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan said the Lanterns would be suitable for businesses looking to raise their profile and promote themselves in the heart of the city, while complementing the existing businesses in the Mall.
“This is an opportunity to support small businesses coming out of the pandemic to market themselves in a unique way in the city centre and stimulate retail activity,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“While the structures are small internally, these will be flexible spaces that would allow for a range of complementary tenancies to be based and they will have the opportunity to make use of the outside area around the base of the structures and under the awnings.
“Once the repurposing works are close to completion at the end of September, the City will open an expressions of interest process for businesses to register for the chance to become a temporary tenant in the Lanterns from October onwards.
As part of plans for the Mall, the draft 2020/2021 Budget also includes funding for a new shade pavilion in Hargreaves Mall. Once built, the new shade structure will allow the Mall to be used all year round and support a wider range of uses, including events, markets and entertainment. The designs for the structure are due to be released in the coming months and the community will be given the opportunity to provide input.
These new measures are in response to community consultation on the Hargreaves Mall and as part of developing the Bendigo City Centre Plan. The overall aim is to further invigorate the vibrancy of the city centre as a great place to relax, shop and do business.