There is a bustle about in Camp Street which traders are hoping breathes new life into their neighbourhood.
Construction works are well underway inside the building of former troubled nightspot Haida club with plans to convert it into an accounting firm set to be unveiled in April. The building was sold to the director of Sterling Financial, Raj Muker, last year.
“Our vision is to bring the old building back to life,” Mr Muker said. “We’ve made the move from a high density office into a historic building which we are hoping to modernise inside but keep in character with the street-scape on the exterior.”
Mr Muker said he had visions of the street being developed into the city’s premiere arts precinct with elements of the business industry. “Camp Street is a beautiful old street but it’s gone to sleep in recent years,” he said.
Next door, Lost Ones gallery co-owner Tara Poole hoped to see more food and drinking venues sprouting up in Camp Street in the coming year. She said it would be the ideal addition to the precinct which offered a walking route between the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Post Office Gallery and Federation University performing arts hub.
“Camp Street hasn’t yet gained a strong sense of identity,” she said. “It is absolutely full of potential because it is a lovely thoroughfare between the train station and Lydiard Street. There is so much scope to do interesting things but it hasn’t taken off yet.”
Ms Poole said she her partner Stephen Pigott were drawn to the old Masonic Hall because of the lifetime of stories that existed in between its four walls.
“The building has had so many lives from being used as an antique store to a social club,” she said.
“We’ve had people come into the gallery who haven’t been there in years and tell stories about how their old punk band used to practice downstairs. Everybody has connections to the buildings and remembers going to it for one reason or another but it’s just one chapter in so many stories that have occurred building along Camp Street over the years.”
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