Bridge Mall traders excited for the future | ourballarat spring 2022

Located on the river flats of the Yarrowee, Bridge Street is the oldest commercial retail area in Ballarat. A pedestrian mall since 1981, the Bridge Mall Business Association is looking forward to the City of Ballarat’s significant redevelopment that will revitalise the iconic precinct.

From left to right, Wendy McLachlan of Wen & Ware Living, Jill Wallis of Darrell Lea Chocolates, Vicki Fawcus of Inhabit Homewares, Tracy Govan of Messer and Opie, Shane Donnithorne of Denim Culture and Linen & Living, and Laura Anstee, Casey Walker and Paige Paterson from Sportsgirl.

“It’s so exciting.”

With those words, Messer and Opie Manager Tracy Govan sums up the feeling of traders in the Bridge Mall.

“We’re excited and the staff are excited. It couldn’t be better timing,” she says.

“This redevelopment will open up much more opportunity to bring new retailers into the precinct, and it opens up the scope of what we can achieve here.”

Sportsgirl Manager Laura Anstee agrees.

“I think it will be the best thing for the Bridge Mall,” Laura says.

The City of Ballarat recently revealed the final designs for the significant redevelopment that will revitalise and transform the mall into its former namesake, Bridge Street.

The $15 million revamp, fully-funded by the City of Ballarat, will redevelop the historic precinct into a tree-lined, landscaped destination – an extension of the magnificent Sturt Street gardens – for shoppers, diners, residents and visitors.

Bridge Mall Business Association Vice President Shane Donnithorne, owner of Denim Culture and Linen & Living, says traders and property owners are looking forward to a good balance of green space and commercial space, with tree planting and landscaping that will beautify the area.

Shane says the shared streetscape will enable movement through the area, including pick-ups and drop-offs, and create a better connection with the CBD.

“The redevelopment will link this precinct into Sturt Street and the top end of town,” he says.

“It’s going to be a good community space combined with retail and it will be great for tourism.

“We want people living in the second storey spaces in the buildings here, commercial offices that aren’t all retail focused – this will bring more people into the area and create the movement that we need.”

Association President Wendy McLachlan, owner of Wen & Ware Living, says the new Bridge Street will be “something to be very proud of for Ballarat.”

“Historically, it’s been the retail hub of Ballarat and the new road is going to revitalise the area with access and provide visibility for the shops that don't have rear access,” she says.

“It’s going to give retail shops wonderful exposure to the community of Ballarat.”

Community consultation

The final designs are the result of a three-stage extensive community consultation process, hearing feedback over a two-year period.

Once the decision to reinstate vehicle access was adopted by Council, the redevelopment design process began in 2020.

Hundreds of stakeholders, property and business owners and interested residents were engaged as part of this co-design process.

The City of Ballarat’s $15 million budget covers upgrades to the mall between Grenville and Peel Streets, Grenville Street between Curtis and Little Bridge Street, with minor access and safety improvements to pockets of Little Bridge Street.

Economic boost

City of Ballarat Director Development and Growth Natalie Robertson says the redevelopment will create a thriving economic precinct, attracting residents, visitors and further investment.

“The design elements all work together to encourage people to visit and stay longer, whether during the day, at night or over weekends,” Natalie says.

“We look forward to reinstating Bridge Street as a destination in Ballarat.”

Major civil works will begin in 2023.

The entire construction process is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

The City of Ballarat will continue to work closely with the Bridge Mall Business Association to ensure traders are supported throughout the redevelopment.

Key design features

  • A landscaped entry from Sturt Street into Bridge Street
  • A shared streetscape with one-way low-speed vehicle access
  • Smart street lighting and projections
  • A new play space inspired by a bridge-like structure
  • Limited parking and better access for people of all abilities
  • New street furniture and bluestone paving
  • Cultural elements reflected into the designs
  • Event friendly spaces for markets, festivities and special events
  • Outdoor dining opportunities for restaurants and cafes

Discover more

View the designs and latest updates at or visit the City of Ballarat shop in Bridge Mall, corner Coliseum Walk.