The owners of the Curtin shops promised to shut the building down if planning officials stood in the way of their high rise redevelopment. This week, they made good on their word.
The standoff between the Haridemos family and the community has escalated, after 44 Curtin Place was fenced off on Tuesday.
The owners had threatened to hoard up the building indefinitely if their bid to transform into a six-storey building, with three basement levels, ground floor retail and five levels of units was knocked back.
Hundreds of people signed a petition last January in protest of the redevelopment, as it was not compatible with the rules of the Curtin Group Square draft master plan and would overshadow the town square.
Accused of "hardball" tactics, the owners claimed they could not afford to maintain the 50-year-old building any longer.
But ACTPLA still refused their application as the proposed height was "not consistent with the existing lower rise character of the Curtin shops", then chief planner Dorte Ekelund said.
Curtin Residents Association president Chris Johnson said the community would have readily accepted two storeys, or even four storeys if the owners made the case for it.
But late last year, tenants were turfed from the building when their leases expired, and the building was fenced off on Tuesday.
Asked on Wednesday what they now had planned for the building, the Haridemos family's spokeswoman Tania Parkes said "the owners are considering their options".
The building had seven tenants - a takeaway fish shop, a milk bar, a green grocer, a Nepalese restaurant, a chemist, a bottle shop and a book store.
Supermarket Coles, a bakery and several cafes remain open around the square.
Capital Chemist moved across the square to share space with the post office earlier this month and green grocer Choku Bai Jo will move into the former coffee roasters' shop on Carruthers Street.
But most affected businesses have been forced out of the area or to shut down entirely, leaving locals frustrated and confounded by the actions of the owners.
Ninety-three year old Yvonne Scales has lived in Deakin for about 50 years, but always travels to the Curtin shops because it's easy to get a park.
She would be happy if a smaller redevelopment went ahead and described the current situation as "terrible".
"It's such a pity. It's always the developers who show up, do what they want and leave you with the mess," Mrs Scales said.
Bella Walters recalled bringing her infant daughter to Curtin Square 46 years ago, and dancing in the Beyond Q bookshop when musician played there.
"I felt so sad to hear how the shops were told to move to leave an empty building there," Ms Walters said.
"It's uncalled for. To me this is greed."
Elaine Ennett described the actions of the owners as "unacceptable".
"It needs development but it needs to be sympathetic redevelopment," she said.
"The fact they're allowed to [leave it like that], I question. There seem to be one set of rules for certain people, and another for everyone else."
Mr Johnson said it was time the developer "proposed something acceptable".
"We want him to get on with putting in a proposal that meets planning requirements," Mr Johnson said.
The traders still open around Curtin Square include: Benson's Hairdresser; Capital Chemist; Choku Bai Jo; Coles Supermarket; Curtin Bakery; Curtin Barber; Curtin Community Bank; Curtin Dental; Curtin Medical Practice; Curtin Optical; Curtin Physio; Curtin Post Office; Curtin Vet; Deli Cafe; Downtown Duty Free; Ivy Flowers; Nunie and Yu Ladies Fashion Boutique; Peter Blackshaw Real Estate; Programmed Recruitment; Red Brick Café.