Westside container village at Acton has cost the ACT taxpayer almost $2 million, with the bill set to climb as the government incurs expenses to operate and maintain the village before it closes in April.
But an existing trader has slammed the project's demise, saying he has lost money from the venture because the venue didn't live up to what was promised.
Habibiz owner Walid Ajaj said he knew Westside was never going to be permanent, but the plans he was shown at the beginning, about two years ago, did not eventuate.
"The village is a very good concept, and has so much potential," Mr Ajaj said.
"But the people who are running the project, they didn't do a good job."
The container village, which has previously been described as both a "damp squib" and looking like a detention centre, will close on Sunday, April 30 after the National Capital Authority refused the government's request to stay longer at the site.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has expressed strong support for Westside Village from the outset, after the government took control over the much-maligned venture in August 2015.
He said the pop-up venue had proved popular with "tens of thousands" of Canberrans and visitors attending the site.
"Westside activated a key location along Lake Burley Griffin that was seriously under-utilised," Mr Barr said.
"Canberrans are now accustomed to enjoying the public space in West Basin. With the construction of Point Park and the basin boardwalk now underway it will remain a popular location."
In response to questions on noticed posed by the Liberals in the Legislative Assembly, the government revealed the cost of the site, including the $44,000 spent on wages in 14 months for an officer dedicated to managing the facility.
A spokesman for the Land Development Agency said with vendors now paying "peppercorn rent" the government was incurring expenses to operate and maintain the village.
It was estimated to cost a further $60,000 to April 30, with no major events planned.
The cost of removing the containers would depend on "whether parts of the structure are able to be adaptively re-used", the LDA spokesman said.
While the LDA said eight businesses were still operating on a month-to-month basis at the site, Mr Ajaj said only about three remained.
"It's a little bit quiet because heaps of businesses already shut down and moved forward," Mr Ajaj said.
"Pretty much now in Westside there are three businesses operating only. We used to have 11 or 12, now it's only three."
Mr Ajaj said the biggest disappointment, besides the lack of advertising, was the promises that were never delivered.
"The government promised us things for the site, what it was supposed to look like. They showed us the plans when we first moved in and then nothing was happening.
"The original site was supposed to be small offices, retail shops, some stuff like that but everything stopped and we were just left with this to work with, to deal with."
Mr Ajaj said he had no idea how to move on when the site closed in April.
"I don't know what to do. A container is not something easy you can put in your backyard. You need to sell it or find somewhere to store it, but to store it will cost me extra money.
Mr Ajaj had hoped to be afforded a place at the new ANU pop-up venue, however he said they wanted caravans, not containers.
"At this stage, the stress we went through and all the money that we lost, all our savings are gone. It's a little bit hard, I just want to clear my head, go somewhere to relax and look at my options."
The LDA spokesman said the structure will be removed and the site restored to its previous use before the National Capital Authority works approval expires on November 19, 2017.