Ballarat businesses are lamenting the parking loss from big developments under way, but hoping more workers will mean more business in years to come.
Perhaps more than any other business, Campana's Stockade Cellars and Deli on the corner of Mair and Armstrong streets will have a direct line of sight to the GovHub monolith being built behind Civic Hall.
The parking squeeze is already being felt by co-owner Tony Campana. Parking meters in the centre median of Mair Street were removed suddenly before Christmas, and many are being occupied by CBD workers for a full day he says, which is “not good for business”.
“We’re gonna feel the pain before the gain,” Mr Campana said. “If drivers are moving from A to B, they might just avoid the area all together.”
“It will be interesting to see the traffic flow now to the cafes at night, because it’s already very hard to park here.”
Car parking is less of a concern for The Pub With Two Names, as they consider how they might capitalise on an influx of public servants just across the road.
“We do takeaway coffee now, so we’re hoping from 2021, we’ll open up for breakfast and people will want to come here before they go to work,” assistant manager Jessica Gladman said.
“At the moment, we get people coming in with clients and buying bottles of wine, sitting for hours at a time … we really can’t wait for a bit more of a flow of people to come through.”
With the GovHub, that whole precinct up around Armstrong Street and Mair Street is really becoming a focal point for people wanting to get into those areas.Ray White Ballarat's Trevor Booth
Mr Campana said they would be able to tell over the next few months what the construction is doing to business, but with 1000 public servants in GovHub, “even if you get 10 or 20 per cent coming out for lunch, I guess it’s got to be a positive thing”.
One sector looking to capitalise on the extra feet on the street is Ballarat’s realtors. Ray White’s Trevor Booth told The Courier this week that the commercial market in the CBD was “encouraging” due to the wide range of major developments.
“When you compare the CBD to areas like Stockland or Delacombe Town Centre, you find they’re now becoming two different types of commercial markets,” he said.“The CBD is becoming more of a foodie-cum-allied health-cum-business service centre.”