Wellington’s Urban Dream Brokerage are calling for proposals by Friday 22 May for the innovative use of Wellington’s vacant retail spaces this winter. The call is out to community groups, artists, fledgling businesses or anyone with something new to share with the city.
“As more people live in the city and retail changes our needs in cities change,” says the Brokerage’s Helen Kirlew Smith. “We’re interested in helping ensure Wellington is a diverse, creative and people-centred city by giving space to new ideas that need to meet their public - as well as providing a showcase of the potential of these spaces to new kinds of tenants.”
With new applications priority is being given to projects commencing in June but enquiries, say the Brokerage, are welcome anytime. Since March 2013 there have been 34 Urban Dream Brokerage assisted projects in 24 different properties across the city. they have included a people-run cinema, a hairdressing salon where your political views are canvassed, open arts workshops, a yoga taster space, a koha cafe, a mood bank, a youth carving space, and a provocative fashion boutique.
“We also see this as a way of developing new talent,” says Kirlew-Smith, “the innovative businesses and creatives that will help shape the identity of the city in the future.”
Urban Dream Brokerage is run by Letting Space and funded by Wellington City Council and Wellington Community Trust. It is one of many such publicly funded initiatives occurring worldwide, and in recent years say the brokerage, there has been increasing interest from other local authorities in establishing schemes to assist urban revitalisation through the use of vacant space.