In maybe a year's time, you'll probably read a similar article to this one about how Mair Street is going - hopefully, about it thriving - but right now, the block between Doveton Street and Armstrong Street is in the middle of a transformation.
Compared to Google Streetview photos from recent years, there's no vacancies, for one thing.
The GovHub project - which will house up to a thousand workers - is on its way next to the reopened Civic Hall, and is "on track" to open by the end of the year.
In advance, continuing the success of Armstrong Street North's food precinct, a variety of hospitality options have opened, or are under construction.
These include a wine bar, a sandwich and coffee outlet, a major brewery and bar, and an Italian bistro, joining a bike shop, photography studio, and art gallery.
On the corners, Ballarat stalwarts Campana's and the refreshed Pub With Two Names are still going strong, but while some traditional retailers have closed, others have seen opportunities.
Right in the middle is D&C's Cafe, which opened in 2018 in anticipation of the hundreds of construction workers seeking an egg and bacon roll and ice coffee every morning.
Manager Katherine Lythgo said the owners, father and son Darren and Christopher Conduit, scoped out the location after attending a public meeting about GovHub.
"They thought, why not, the tradies are going to be hungry," she said.
Darren Conduit added he was positive about the future, though he was cautious about the parking situation.
"Ideally, if they had some more inner-city parking it'd be better, but space is the biggest problem," he said.
"I think we're all working together, we all have our own different things, it's good.
"It's all changing, it's a bit like Armstrong Street, following them around the corner - I think you've got to be positive."
Parking woes were a common thread for almost every business owner approached by The Courier on the stretch.
The GovHub project swallowed up a multi-level car park on Market Street, and while 220 underground spaces are included in the design, Wendouree MP Juliana Addison confirmed these would be for "tenants only" - that is, government employees and contractors.
"We're all complementary, you can't be all things to all people."Torquil Neilson, The Comfort of Strangers
"Public parking, because of security reasons, isn't on offer," she said.
"That's also why we put money into the Creswick Road car park."
While family business Campana's, on the Armstrong Street corner, has been around for decades, has expanded its offerings, it's feeling the pinch from the parking changes as well.
Deli manager Meg Campana said having more people when GovHub was completed will be positive, but work needs to be done to improve foot traffic and parking flow.
"This area has so many small local, independent businesses, we want people to come to us and they really want to come to us, so we have to make sure that can happen," she said.
"(The changes on Mair Street) have been great, we've seen both the food and liquor sides, there's a lot of positivity about it - it's a community, and because the food and wine culture (in Ballarat) has grown so much, it's helped as well."
The diversity of the offerings is something many are looking forward to - different businesses will be able to fulfil different niches and add to the thriving businesses on Armstrong Street, and on Mair Street towards Lydiard Street.
"I'm getting people who are waiting for a table at a restaurant, they leave their number and come back after going here, or people before and after the cinema," he said.
"Once these other venues open up, particularly the brewery - if people come in here wanting draft beer I can't help them, but once that's open, I've got somewhere great I can send them, and maybe someone there will want something small or intimate, we all do something different.
"We're all complementary, you can't be all things to all people."
The Pub With Two Names reopened on the Doveton Street corner in April 2018, and business owner Irene Beghini said the disruptions during construction had been trying.
"Hopefully, the government building is going to be what everyone's waiting for, and that will make the wait worthwhile," she said.
"Fingers crossed (they do come for a coffee), otherwise we'll be a little disappointed."
She agreed that the variety of businesses opening on the strip will be positive in the long run.
"We don't see it as a competition, we see it as bringing people here, because the more there is around, the more people think of heading to Ballarat Central to come and try it out," she said.
Across the road on Doveton Street, the Inexterior coffee shop has been open for about four years.
Owner Jamie Mahony said he's watched the changes going on with a keen eye, but added he's looking for a slightly different market to the other businesses, targeting young families.
"It'll be interesting in the next 12 months - once people start coming and working there we'll definitely notice a change," he said.
"Look at Armstrong Street 10 years ago and look at it now, it could be a good shot in the arm for this area."
From the people behind Hop Temple, the business was the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the state government through its Regional Tourism and Regional Jobs funds.
It's still under construction, but owner Brian Taylor said he expected it to open this year.
"A vibrant CBD, that's what the goal is, it's to have good businesses offer a diverse range of products," he said.
"It'll be great to see good, successful businesses operating there in the heart of Ballarat."
Ms Addison said there would also be a link with Federation University, and a major tourism focus, adding more options to encourage people to stay in the city for longer than a day.
"It's going to create 25 new jobs, they tell me," she said.
"A key feature will be the brew space, where small brewers will be able to get advice, develop techniques, and potentially expand their own businesses."
There'll likely be other movements once GovHub reopens - the small car park block next door to Moon and Mountain on the northeast Armstrong Street corner, for example, has potential, and there's still a couple of vacant shopfronts on the block between Lydiard Street and Armstrong Street - but the burst in activity is a promising sign even before a thousand employees begin looking for early morning coffees and Friday night knockoff drinks.
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