Docklands Spaces kick-starts 21 enterprises

Docklands Spaces has kick-started 21 small creative and community businesses and attracted long-term commercial tenants.

Places Victoria General Manager Precincts, Simon Wilson, said Docklands Spaces was initiated by Places Victoria, the City of Melbourne and Renew Australia as an incubator program for creative enterprises and independent local initiatives on a rent-free basis to activate underutilised spaces with interesting projects.

“Docklands Spaces has been a great success with all but two participating properties sold or leased to long-term commercial tenants,” Mr Wilson said.

“The extent of development in Docklands during the three years that Docklands Spaces ran has improved amenity and attracted more workers, residents and visitors to the precinct, securing more long-term commercial tenants.”

Cr Kevin Louey, Chair of City of Melbourne’s Economic Development Portfolio, said the program was a win-win for all concerned.

“Around 80 per cent of businesses in the City of Melbourne are classified as small businesses. Encouraging start-ups and smaller operators through innovations such as Docklands Spaces contributes to a thriving, sustainable business culture and highlights what can be achieved when we work together,” Cr Louey said.

“This program showcases Docklands as a great place to do business, drives employment and provides valuable goods and services to residents, workers and visitors.”

Founder of Renew Australia Marcus Westbury, said Docklands Spaces has provided invaluable opportunities for dozens of projects, small businesses and creative projects.

“It has helped bring new life and a layer of activity to Docklands,” Mr Westbury said.

“From Renew Australia's point of view it has been an invaluable opportunity to work with and learn from the unique dynamic of a new and rapidly growing part of the city and it has been a catalyst to meet some of the most creative people and projects in Melbourne.”

Initially Docklands Spaces was intended to be a one-year program to activate retail spaces in NewQuay Piazza and Harbour Town.

Following its early success, the program was extended for a further two-years to include commercial spaces in the Victoria Harbour precinct.

Docklands Spaces has seen 21 entrepreneurs successfully launch or grow their businesses.

Participants included architects to computer gaming businesses, and three galleries which have hosted more than 70 exhibitions and gallery events showcasing the work of local artists.

Two-thirds of Docklands’ 146 hectares of developable land has been developed, with the remaining land planned for development over the next decade or so. On completion Docklands will have 20,000 residents (currently 13,000) and 80,000 jobs (currently 58,000) and have attracted $17.5 billion private sector investment (currently $12 billion).


Places Victoria, City of Melbourne and Renew Australia thanks the Docklands Spaces participants including: Studio Batch, Bird & Plane, Musk Architecture, The Food Court community arts spaces, D11 @ Docklands gallery, The Front gallery, social enterprise (f)route, retailer Revolution Project, collaborative studio Place Pop Creative, The Lifted Brow literary hub, creative studio Space Space Studio, large scale inflatable creators Ampersand, event planner The Creative Type, jewellery and candle maker Aacute, Kelly Cube gourmet foods, book making studio Inkling Workshop, gaming creators House House Studio, women’s cycling business Wheel Women, film collective PLGRM, music events producer Paradise Music, Branch Architecture Studio, hand-made bicycle manufacturer Belle Bicycles and sustainable fashion studio Marlow & Grump.

The program was made possible by the generous support of the following property owners, property developers and managers:  MAB, JLL, T&M Lay, Lewis Land, Harbourtown Management, Sunshine Investment Corporation, ANZ, Bonanza, Lendlease, Piazzanova Piazza, and Waterfront City 1B Retail.