26 September 2012 — Lyon Group Australia, GPT Group, Stockland and Cbus Property are among those partnering with local creative enterprises to display art and create exhibition spaces in using otherwise empty properties.

“Art in empty shops” is a growing retail revitalisation trend gaining momentum in Australia. From two projects in 2009, there are now 25 around the country.

Lyon Group Australia is the latest property group to provide empty commercial spaces at low or no cost for arts activity with Pop Up Epping in Sydney’s west which ran through August and September.

GPT Group in Newcastle and Wollongong, Frasers Property in central Sydney, Stockland in Forster, and Cbus Property’s 140 Perth, are also all on board.

Meanwhile, the Empty Spaces Project at the University of Technology, Sydney, has been researching the “art in empty shops” movement in Australia and overseas.

Empty Spaces Project manager Lisa Anderson said the benefits for landlords included property improvements, reductions in vandalism and graffiti incidents, lower insurance and maintenance costs, and increased foot traffic around the projects.

“Also, because art uses space differently and creates a ‘buzz’, these projects attract a broader potential base of long-term commercial tenants for properties,” she said.

Ms Anderson said in the UK many local government areas offered scaled systems of property rates relief for landlords making properties available at no cost for temporary uses by community or creative groups. She would like to see similar incentives being considered in Australia.

“Anything that broadens the range of consumer offerings, supports new businesses and decreases the number of empty properties in retail centres can only assist landlords to attract commercial tenants and hugely benefits local communities,” she said.

Meanwhile, a free, guided walking tour of activated spaces and exhibition openings at Renew Newcastle shops and gallery spaces will be held on 27 September. The start venue is Make Space, Silk House, 200 Hunter Street Mall, Newcastle. Drinks from 5pm, tour from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

Details: https://renewnewcastle.org/news