The team that renewed Newcastle’s stagnating, post-industrial city centre into a vibrant, creative space are turning their attention to Maitland.
Maitland City Council has engaged Renew Australia to conduct a “scoping study” to determine if the city qualifies for a renewal program.
While the study was kicking off, another milestone piece of the Levee’s Riverlink project was being winched into place.
Renew Australia works with communities and property owners to take empty shops, offices, and commercial and public buildings and make them available on a short term basis for use by artists, creative projects and community initiatives.
Council’s city economy officer Andrew Brown said the focus of the program will be Central Maitland, but other sites throughout the city will be assessed as part of the study.
"We are going to be working with Renew Australia and with other key stakeholders to assess the viability of the Renew model in Maitland.”
We are going to be working with Renew Australia and with other key stakeholders to assess the viability of the Renew model in Maitland.Andrew Brown
If the program was given the green light, it is hoped Renew could reduce vacant spaces, increase the diversity of goods and services in Maitland, and stimulate business activity and entrepreneurship.
It would also tie in with the revitalisation of the city centre, which is being driven by the Levee. On Monday and Tuesday part of the Riverlink roof was being installed – giving shape to the next phase of the Levee.
“Over the coming months, Renew Australia will review opportunities to activate vacant properties with creative enterprises in Maitland,” Renew Australia’s manager Angela Simons said.
“Following a detailed site audit of vacancies, Renew Australia will begin discussions with property owners and agents, and the local creative community to test the viability of a pilot project and prepare a roll out plan should it be feasible.”
Renew Australia will be in Maitland from Tuesday May 9 to Thursday May 11 to undertake the study and examine the city’s creative scene. They will then contact vacant property owners.
For more about the study, or if property owners and creatives wish to contribute ideas, contact Council’s city economy officer Andrew Brown on 4931 2838.