75 vacant Melbourne shopfronts up for grabs for artists and creatives

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75 vacant Melbourne shopfronts up for grabs for artists and creatives

Melbourne shop art
Words by Zachary Sanderson

The $2.6 million program will continue to elevate businesses with added foot-traffic in early 2023.

From Errol Street in North Melbourne to new areas in Docklands, the Shopfront Activation Program will continue to imbue new life into businesses across Melbourne into next year. The program is meant to give 40 different stores a chance to test out their unique crafts and services given the impacts of the pandemic.

The Shopfront Activation Program

  • The Shopfront Activation Program is continuing into 2023
  • Locations on Errol Street, Victoria Street, Bellair Street, Macaulay Road and Docklands

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.


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Given the cost of several lockdowns, City of Melbourne are confident a specified shopfront focus will give newfound light on some uniquely Melbourne small business. Not only is this meant to re-elevate businesses in the area, it’s also seen as an opportunity to interest new businesses as well.

“We’ve seen some incredible success stories thanks to the Shopfront Activation Program – watching businesses blossom with several tenants extending their leases, and others becoming permanent City of Melbourne fixtures,” says Business and Global Opportunities portfolio lead councillor Kevin Louey.

For starting a business, this option is a blessing. Offering low to no-cost tenancies over 75 different vacant shopfronts in areas all over Melbourne, it gives a helping hand to aspiring creatives and visionaries. From such businesses as G’day Kitty, a store specifically for all things feline and Jem Bray Art, a contemporary digital art experience.

Though it is a way to specifically target the growth of small businesses, the program is a by-product of the City of Melbourne and the Victorian government’s Melbourne City Recovery Fund. $100 million has been contributed to keeping the pulse beating on our favourite streets and laneways, small businesses, and culture.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp endorses the program, stating: “We’re proud to keep this program going and ramping up our efforts to revitalise more silent spaces – supporting local jobs and boosting footfall and visitation.”

For more info on City of Melbourne’s current programs, head here.