WARRNAMBOOL’S central business district is about to get a boost with the letting of one of its large empty shops.
The former De Grandi’s sports store in Timor Street, which has been empty for almost two years, will be occupied next month by Warrnambool Independent Traders, which has been operating from the Flaxman Street section of the former Fletcher Jones building. Market managers Brian and Jenny Eldridge said the lease on the Flaxman Street premises was about to expire after two years at the site.
“The opportunity to lease the De Grandi’s building has come along at the right time. It will give us room for expansion and make the market more accessible to everyday shoppers,” Mrs Eldridge said.
She said the former Fletcher Jones site had not been ideal due to poor security and structural faults. “It’s a very difficult building to secure properly. We have had a number of break-ins and a lot of damage from vandals. The roof also leaks every time we get heavy rain.”
The market is made up of 47 independent stallholders. Mrs Eldridge said they were now in the process of winding down their Flaxman Street stalls and would be moving to Timor Street as soon as the building was ready.
The Timor Street building extends back to the Ozone car park, offering 1000-square-metres of retail space across the ground floor and a mezzanine floor.
“We need the extra space and we couldn’t get that at the Fletcher Jones building,” Mrs Eldridge said.
Michael De Grandi and his brother John closed the sports goods business in May 2011 after 114 years of continuous family operation.