Hargreaves Mall is changing!
Over the next two years, major private and public investment in the heart of Bendigo’s city centre will deliver the latest chapter in the life of Hargreaves Mall.
Changes will start with the installation of a big screen in February 2022, followed by construction of an ACCOR Mantra Hotel and new shade structure and landscaping, including a row of new palm trees.
How is Hargreaves Mall changing?
The Mall is about to undergo its most significant change since it was redeveloped in 2010.
An exciting new 4.5-star, 110-room, six-storey ACCOR Mantra Hotel is coming to the Mall and will feature café, restaurant and function facilities that will be open to the public.
This will help reinvigorate the Mall by attracting people to stay, dine and shop in the city centre.
The hotel will be built on the former Thomas Jewellers and Bendigo Community Pharmacy sites and construction is will start in 2022.
The City of Greater Bendigo is also planning to undertake a range of staged projects over the next two years to refresh the Mall and respond to community feedback that it needs more colour, shade and softness. Improvements to be undertaken by the City include:
- A new big screen
- Construction of a new shade structure and landscaping (to replace the temporary pop-up park)
- Replacement of the Kauri Pines with Cotton Palms on the Killians Walk-side of the Mall
Answers to frequently asked questions about the Hargreaves Mall.
- Big screen – $151,000
- New landscaping and replacement of the Kauri Pines with Cotton Palms – $230,000
- Shade structure – $500,000
The screen will cover the Mitchell Street-end lantern and face into the Mall, towards FunLoong play space, and broadcast movies, music videos, concerts, live sport and community messaging. The screen also has a camera that can be turned on so people in the Mall can interact with it. It will be installed by February 2022.
The screen and installation have been paid for with money saved from not running events during COVID-19.
The hotel development has meant the City will delay construction of the planned shade shelter and landscaping works until 2023, when hotel building works are expected to be largely internal. The aim is to have the hotel, shade structure and landscaping works finish at the same time to minimise disruption and to avoid damaging the new infrastructure.
In January 2021 the City announced it would build a wooden shade structure and allocated $500,000 to the project. The project was expected to be delivered in 2021, however the construction tenders received were considerably over this amount due to the significant increase in the cost of materials during COVID-19.
To save money, the City is using internal resources to re-design the structure and will return to the market and call for new tender submissions.
The landscaping will sit around the bottom of the shade structure and include new permanent public seating, low-level stage for outdoor performances and additional greenery. This will replace the temporary pop-up park and be delivered at the same time as the shade structure.
The landscaping will deliver year-round colour and softness at ground level and create a welcoming casual seating area and events space to complement the shade structure.
The trees are rootbound and there is evidence of pavement cracking. They were originally intended to grow for a period of time before being transplanted into local parkland. Unfortunately, the considerable growth of the trees has not allowed this to happen.
A date to remove the Kauri Pines is still to be set and the City plans to reuse the timber in other projects. The Cotton Palms have been chosen due to their large, attractive, fan-shaped leaves that will bring instant greenery to the Mall.
The 2018 Transforming the City Centre Action Plan is guiding on-the-ground improvements to the Mall. Delivery of the new shade structure is a key action in the plan.
Other improvements achieved to date include new toilets in the Hargreaves Street multi-storey car park, temporary pop-up park (which will eventually make way for the shade structure and permanent landscaping), delivery vehicles now park outside the Mall to make it safer for pedestrians and the lanterns have been re-purposed into successful micro-tenancies to support small businesses.
The Mall is an important central place for business and a gathering space for small and large events.
Just like shopping centres that are updated every seven to 10 years, outdoor public spaces and shopping areas that fulfil a similar purpose also need to be invested in. The last Mall redevelopment was completed in 2010, so it is nearly 12 years old in its current form.
The city centre is also a busy place, including the Mall. Bendigo’s city centre is the largest commercial precinct in central and northern Victoria. It has a regional catchment of around 300,000 people and in 2020 was home to over 1,000 businesses and 11,000 jobs.
Council adopted the 2020 Bendigo City Centre Plan to provide a clear direction for the future growth of the city centre and guidance to drive greater economic activity over time by supporting business development and attraction.
Investing in the Mall will help to create a more vibrant, active and safe environment for residents, visitors and businesses.
The City’s role is to make the Mall an inviting place that makes people want to spend more time in the city centre, whether that be to shop, dine, stay, attend an event or open new businesses.
To make the Mall as appealing as possible and attract people to the city centre, the City’s role is to ensure it is safe for use, improve infrastructure and stage events that help to make it a vibrant, active and enjoyable space.
It is also important to note that the City does not own the shops in the Mall, so does not set the rents and has no control over which businesses go into them. This is the choice of the landlords that own the shops. City staff do try to work with landlords to fill their shops and to carry out upgrades to make them look more appealing.
Anti-social behaviour is a community issue and not one specific to the Mall. It is also a challenge experienced in many regional and metropolitan areas. The City works closely with traders, Victoria Police and local support services to ensure the area is safe and people are receiving the help they need.
The broader city centre is also changing.
The $60M Bendigo TAFE building was recently completed and construction of the $100M Bendigo GovHub (Galkangu, pronounced Gall-kang-goo) and $153M Bendigo Law Courts developments are under way.
These projects represent an injection of people into the city centre to learn, work and do business, and a significant investment of Victorian Government funds.