26 September 2023

Creative Canberrans create more space

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Canberra’s creatives are to have more space and support to create with the City Renewal Authority preparing to provide locals with rent-free space for their endeavours.

Announcing the Second Space Pilot, the Authority said that over the coming months it would establish a suite of spaces offering the opportunity for creative industry and business users to connect and activate City West.

“Our goal is to attract more people, more investment, and more business to City West with a program that will lead to major, social, and economic benefits that will ripple outwards,” the Authority said.

“With several vacant and latent tenancies and buildings in City West, the program will support activation and visibility of these spaces for its duration,” it said.

“The simple act of ‘turning on the lights’ can have the effect of changing the way spaces are perceived, creating a feeling of safety after hours, drawing people’s attention, dissuading anti-social behaviour and reducing CBD building vacancy.”

The Authority said the Pilot would test the viability of connecting vacant retail and commercial city spaces with local creatives and innovators for three weeks to six months on a rent-free agreement.

It said the program would support makers, doers, collectives, and creatives to gain a foothold in commercial city spaces while transforming vacant buildings and shopfronts into “vibrant places of curiosity and creativity for all to enjoy”.

“We’re looking for anyone who wants to test new ideas, are an institution looking to display works or hold workshops, or a social enterprise or NFP,” it said.

“The program will offer successful applicants the opportunity to licence the use of a space in City West, at an incredibly affordable cost (rent will be free but there will be costs associated with using the space), for anywhere between three weeks to six months.”

The Authority said the Pilot also aimed to provide value to property owners by introducing exciting short term occupants to a building at little to no cost to the owner, “as the Authority can make a contribution toward the reasonable costs for utilities, signage and licensing fees.”

“Activating vacant spaces within buildings will make their locations more visually attractive with the goal of transforming spaces that can lead to long-term investment, increased passive surveillance, and increase the likelihood of future rentals as the area becomes more active,” it said.

“If you are a property owner, representative, managing agent or individual with available space in the City West area, we would like to hear from you.”

Further information for ‘space activators’ can be accessed at this PS News link and for property owners at this link.

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