Gai Brodtmann says leasing vacant office space could eventually bring more residential development near Anketell Street. Photo: Elesa Kurtz
Temporary pop-up businesses could help enliven a struggling Tuggeranong town centre, according to Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann.
While the federal government’s commitment to keep the Department of Social Services in the region was good news, she said more needed to be done to give the struggling centre a new lease on life.
“It is a way of testing the market without committing to a long-term lease,’’ she said.
‘‘The beauty of the pop-up notion is there are a lot of people with creative ideas and retail concepts. This is an opportunity to... test out the business proposal and see if it’s viable.”
Ms Brodtmann said leasing vacant office space could complement longer term projects, such as her desire to see more residential development near Anketell Street.
The Tuggeranong-based Department of Social Services received $26.8 million towards a new office in the federal government’s budget.
Brew Bar owner Peter Giannitsios was relieved the department would remain but said landlords needed to be proactive to keep customers on board.
He said the government’s commitment had boosted confidence among businesses that depended on the public service.
“Obviously there are a lot of empty places... but hopefully the confidence will come back,’’ he said.
ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja said retaining the department in Tuggeranong had increased economic certainty.
He said the development of a new office could see an investment of $150 million in the region, based on discussions with people in the industry.
Mr Seselja would also like to see residential development west of the Murrumbidgee River near the town centre, which he argued would boost the local economy.
Anketell Street Chemist pharmacist Alex Lui said while retaining the public service was great it didn’t change much at the pharmacy.
He thought the introduction of a well-known retail outlet into the market, such as Costco, might attract more people to the centre.