Difficult to miss, the vacant shops at 645, 647, 649 and 666 Glenferrie Road located underneath the railway bridge, have been vacant for many months now. 666 Glenferrie Road being vacant for two years after Mario’s coffee shop was forced to leave due to sewage issues in 2016.
Vacant shops in the heart of Glenferrie detract from the community and businesses in the area. Commercial vacancies create negative appeal, can drag down the area and in some instances attract anti-social behaviour.
Many locals have expressed concern about the empty shops underneath the railway bridge, including Grace Park Residents Association president Rob Perkins. Understandably, market forcescome into play when leasing retail premises. However, the shops in question have not even been offered for lease on the market.
VicTrack, the state government agency responsible for Victoria's transportation assets, own the vacant shops. According to their website, the organisation aims to make the most of land and buildings that are no longer required and promises to play a key role in managing land assets toward better community outcomes. When contacted by the Glenferrie Times, VicTrack explained that the shops are located under Glenferrie railway station, platform and bridge which are all heritage-listed and this has made it difficult to make proper structural changes while also maintaining the state of the surrounding infrastructure.
VicTrack are currently working on a strategic plan for their Glenferrie commercial outlets which will “include refurbishment works and (they are) aiming to list shops for lease on the city side of Glenferrie Road by mid-2018.”
*Update 21 August 2018
The Glenferrie Times followed up with VicTrack about the progress/current status of the vacant shops and received the following response.
"We're refurbishing the Glenferrie Road shops to get them ready to lease as soon as possible - and we're pleased to say one of the shops is ready to go.
However, as can happen when renovating buildings of a certain age, we encountered some unforeseen issues in the other shops which require much more work than we initially thought.
We are working hard to resolve these issues before we offer them for lease."