Popular pop-up program expands its lease in Melbourne

More vacant shopfronts across the city will be reimagined into exciting pop-ups, creative spaces and bespoke displays, as the City of Melbourne expands its popular Shopfront Activation Program to early 2023.

The program’s footprint will reactivate more areas of the municipality than ever before – including Errol and Victoria Streets in North Melbourne, Bellair Street and Macaulay Road in Kensington, and new areas across Docklands and the CBD.   
The $2.6 million program has created an invaluable opportunity for 40 established and aspiring businesses and creatives impacted by the pandemic to reach new customers and test their distinct offerings in the heart of Melbourne.   
After making successful debuts, the City of Melbourne has supported five businesses in planting permanent roots in the city, such as Mr Cuff, This Is Not a Toy Store and TOKA Exchange in the CBD, Lygon Street’s ELK Womenswear, and Yesign Chocolate Gallery in Docklands.  
A further seven tenants have extended their leases following successful short-term stints- including the infamous Karen’s Diner, which is set to wreak havoc on Lygon Street until the end of February.  
More than transforming standalone shopfronts, the eclectic mix of participating businesses have created vibrant retail hubs and renewed confidence across our neighbourhoods.  
This year, six artisan offerings came together to establish Howey Place as a hub for Melbourne’s finest makers and creators. The precinct’s June launch resulted in a 15 per cent surge in foot traffic – drawing a crowd of thousands and igniting interest from prospective businesses to set up shop in the area.  
Carlton has also received a fashion facelift thanks to three womenswear labels popping up as part of the program, with more retail and hospitality offerings coming soon.   
The program has helped establish Docklands as an epicenter for emerging businesses and creatives, fostering the success of local favourites including WØRKS, laGuapa Outerwear and Collide Public Art. 
A slew of new openings have also set up shop across the city: 
  • Hats for Spring Racing, Howey Place CBD – showcasing 12 professional Australian milliners 
  • G’day Kitty, Elizabeth Street CBD – a giftware store for cat-lovers 
  • Infra/Structure, Swanston Street CBD – a multidisciplinary creative gallery 
  • Naughty Vegan, Hardware Lane CBD – 100% Belgian vegan mylk chocolate 
  • Harlow, Driver Lane CBD – Australian-made womenswear designed for sizes 12-26  
  • The Mbassy Dance, Collins Street Docklands – teaching everything from salsa and hip-hop to twerking 
  • Jem Bray Art, Docklands Drive Docklands – a multidisciplinary visual arts experience  
Lygon Street’s fashion renaissance will also continue with designer menswear label, Joseph and James and sneaker joint, Althletikan, slated for Spring openings.  
The Shopfront Activation Program is part of the $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund – a partnership between the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government.  
The program is delivered in partnership with property acquisition and leasing specialists Renew Australia, The Place Agency and Ginnane & Associates.  
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