Pop ups breathe new life

Article image - Pop ups breathe new life Creative CBD Toowoomba attracted 1562 visitors to 44 events held at participating venues.

The Toowoomba Gallery is relocating to new premises in the redeveloped Rowe’s complex fronting Victoria Street next month following its successful launch as part of a trial Creative CBD Toowoomba program by Toowoomba Regional Council, Queensland.

While the trial ended last month, Toowoomba Region Mayor, Paul Antonio said the new venture’s move into a commercially leased space was evidence of how the partnership with Renew Australia had allowed fledgling creative enterprises to flourish.

“Five emerging creative industry businesses were granted access to previously vacant central business district (CBD) spaces in a bid to generate greater interest and foot traffic across the Toowoomba CBD.

“New life was breathed into previously vacant CBD properties in Margaret and Ruthven streets.

“Council was pleased to have been able to help promote business renewal in creative industries across Toowoomba’s CBD. On a positive note, The Toowoomba Gallery has found a new home at the redeveloped Rowe’s complex from October.”

The Toowoomba Gallery co-creative director Niki Hall said she and her business partner took the plunge to test their concept to open the initial Ruthven Street store due to the support provided by the Creative CBD Project.

“The Renew Australia model allowed us to pursue our dream of opening a gallery and an interior design studio, servicing residential and commercial clients.”

Renew Australia is a not-for-profit social enterprise that provides support and resources to transform vacant spaces into vibrant businesses.

Mayor Antonio said a lack of suitable CBD properties limited opportunities for creative enterprises to turn concepts into reality in a short time.

He said some landlords preferred to see their properties secure longer-term tenancies through traditional commercial lease arrangements, rather than the rolling 30-day tenancies that were a feature of the trial.

Of 20 vacant CBD properties that were identified as being suitable for the trial in January 2021, only one third remained available for potential projects in July this year.

Mayor Antonio said Council continued to invest in the Toowoomba CBD to aid business investment and promoted the mix of retail, leisure, arts, dining, entertainment and commercial operators. This included a new suite of promotional videos that was produced in June this year with the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce and Southern Queensland Country Tourism.