At last week’s meeting, council approved the renovations at 609-623 Beaufort Street which formerly housed a deli, a small grocer and speciality retail stores.
The $1 million refurbishment will remove part of the roof and create an open-air laneway and offer spaces for three retail tenancies, three restaurants, a small bar and a takeaway restaurant.
Mayor John Carey said the amenity at the northern end of Beaufort Street had deteriorated because of empty shops, particularly the former Planet Video and Pony Club sites.
‘When you have vacant shops for a period of time it changes the culture,’ he said.
‘Beaufort Street is suffering as a town centre.
‘By lifting the roof and creating a laneway will create activation at the front and rear of the development.
‘The alternatives for this site could have been a lot worse for this street.’
Councillors were concerned about the development’s shortfall of about 30 car bays, which could adversely affect nearby residents and add to congestion.
But council agreed to ask the developers to pay a $100,000 cash in lieu contribution, which could go towards promoting sustainable transport options in the area.
‘We are never going to fully equip car parking,’ Mr Carey said.
‘In fact good urban planning requires you not to prioritise car parking because no matter how much you provide, you will always need more.’
Cr Josh Topelberg supported the motion, despite concern about parking, because the City had a responsibility to balance the needs of residents with that of businesses and tourists.
‘This is a great way to regenerate existing building stock,’ he said.
‘The benefits of this proposal far outweigh the negatives.’
Old and new artworks will be included in the development and a continuous awning along Beaufort Street will be added.