I've wriitten comments about this before but never had the real statistics. This article is surely alarming to tthose who want Geelong to be a great city.
A record 87 shops sit empty in Geelong’s ailing CBD
OCTOBER 07, 2014 9:10AM
A map showing some of the empty shops in Geelong CBD.
RECORD numbers of shops are sitting empty as
Geelong’s heart spirals further into a decline no taskforce, committee or
council has been able to fix in almost a decade of trying.
The Geelong Advertiser last week identified 87
vacant ground-level stores on city streets, with another seven occupied but up
for lease or sale. Only seven of those sitting unused are known to have been
leased or sold. The highest number of empty buildings previously reported by
the Addy was 69, in 2011.
Ryrie St, Moorabool St and Little Malop St — once the bustling
centre of Geelong retail — have been hardest hit, with suburban shopping
centres, metered parking and an economic downturn all listed as contributing
factors by city leaders.
Corio MP Richard Marles, who led a summit on the issue in 2010,
said vacancies had reached a “critical point”.
At the time of the summit, there were 35 vacant shops in the area
bordered by Ryrie St, Malop St, Gheringhap St and Yarra St. Four years on there
On top of the 87 vacant stores, another 15 in Westfield and Market
Square are unoccupied, although at least five have future tenants lined up.
“Geelong has a whole raft of issues that need to be addressed
simultaneously and there’s no magic bullet and no one answer,” Geelong Chamber
of Commerce chief executive Bernadette Uzelac said.
“There is more retail floor space than ever before in the CBD but
much of it is now in shopping centres, and perhaps there needs to be a
conversation about whether we need such a large CBD. It’s an emotive issue, but
... having such a big city centre is no longer as necessary as it once was.”
Landmark projects, such as the planned transformation of the T
& G Building into student accommodation and development of the former
Dimmeys and Dalgety buildings, would create opportunities for small business,
Ms Uzelac said.