Vintage, grungy and gentrified are words that are often associated with Melbourne’s most trendy neighbourhoods. Inner urban suburbs such as Fitzroy and North Melbourne that are characterised by Victorian terrace housing, Miner’s cottages and brick veneer factory warehouses have played a significant part of Melbourne’s suburban gentrification over the last 10 years. However, the case of the Docklands does not reflect the successful renewal of its surrounding suburbs. The area has been designed with a brash developer’s stroke that struggles to signify a charming throwback to the site’s industrious past as Melbourne’s biggest port as North Melbourne is able to transcend its blue collar charm.
The Docklands represents the west of Melbourne’s CBD area that has generally been a dormant modern precinct since its redevelopment in the early 2000’s. Though geographically closer to the CBD than popular suburbs situated north and south of the CBD, the area’s initial hefty price tag’s and its subsequent high vacancy rates has led the government as well as developers to try and implement innovative engaging policies such as the free rent scheme that is being implemented for some of Dockland’s commercial sites.
The opportunity to provide free rent has opened the entry level for ventures never experienced before in Docklands, as historically the area’s high rents have deterred particular businesses from investing in the area.
For an area to gentrify, it should have a sense of charm from its past that allures new demographics, the Docklands was a port that was infested with tales of thuggery that manifested within the asbestos laden sheds along the harbour, furthermore the space has almost totally been designed and influenced by developers, whereas the redevelopment of surrounding areas has been inspired by Melburnians who wish to preserve the social and engaging nature of their city.
What are other contemporary tenancy schemes that have been able to be employed to activate areas?
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