The opening of a number of major retail stores in the upper end of Sturt Street signifies the start of a hopeful revitalising of part of the Ballarat CBD.
Homewares business Provincial Home Living, located on the corner of Sturt and Armstrong streets, and women's fashion label Witchery, located in Central Square Shopping Centre on Armstrong Street, have opened their doors this year. Woman's clothing brand, Sportscraft, opened two weeks ago on Sturt Street in the City Centre Arcade.
Ray White Ballarat commercial, residential sales and rural sales director Trevor Booth said the Sturt Street area, between Armstong and Doveton streets, was crucial to the CBD's retail.
"With GovHub opening in 2021, there is a lot of anticipation that the CBD will be revitalised by a lot more people living in the CBD," Mr Booth said. "There is great anticipation and excitement that the CBD will be revitalised over the next year or two."
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Mr Booth said although some retailers had moved out of the precinct, seeing the confidence of the new brands deciding to relocate there was really exciting. Kitchenware specialists, Le Kitchen, located in the Block Arcade on Doveton Street, is closing at Christmas.
But Mr Booth said a new tenant had already signed a lease while the Bendigo Bank, currently located on the corner of Doveton and Sturt streets, was moving into the former newsagency in the Block Arcade.
"Retail in the CBD and Bridge Mall is an important part of the mix but unfortunately there is a changing pattern of the way people shop," he said. "There is still room for strong brands to have a street front presence so it's good these brands have the confidence by putting their money into renting premises."
Sportscraft manager Donna Mullane said the boutique store opened in a premises that had been vacant for about 12 months.
She said the store, which was previously located in Myer, would be good to increase the precinct's retail.
"We are excited to be out on the Sturt Street frontage and fill an empty shop. Shoppers are excited to have a brand new shop with a good fit out, while other businesses are happy we are here," Mrs Mullane said.
"Having occupied shops brings Ballarat to life."
Lucida Boutique, a designer dress hire business, opened four months ago in the City Centre Arcade. Owner Angela Pike said she liked being in a central location that had security.
She said Ballarat businesses had a good relationship with each other and their customers. "Ballarat has a really good connection and it's important to keep that."
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