Will laneway cafes revive Townsville CBD?

Some Townsville business people appear excited by the prospect of laneway developments in Townsville CBD, which has struggled for years to compete as a retail centre against the big suburban shopping centres at Aitkenvale and Willows (see CBD set to move into the espresso lane and Flinders St Traders welcome laneway precinct). Many Townsville residents are obviously skeptical, however, based on a poll on the Townsville Bulletin website:

lanewayI voted no in the poll, because, as I’ve posted on before (see Townsville’s Flinders St to re-open for traffic by June), I think it’s unrealistic to expect much of a revival in the CBD for a couple of reasons:

  • the Townsville CBD is no longer the geographic centre of Townsville due to strong population growth out past Aitkenvale, and
  • the big suburban air-conditioned shopping centres are very popular given Townsville’s tropical heat and humidity.


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6 Responses to Will laneway cafes revive Townsville CBD?

  1. Katrina drake says:

    Hard to beat air-con. But , it never ceases to amaze me what people will do for a really good coffee.

  2. Mark Beath says:

    Very similar to debate in Cairns on the CBD although we do have some excellent laneway cafe’s and perhaps the tourist trade makes a difference to Townsville. Most regional cities I am aware of have overhauled their city malls for similar reasons. It is often stated here that the Cairns Central shopping centre killed the CBD but i’m not so sure on that.

  3. pathession says:

    Hi Gene, while at Domain Central in Townsville the other day I was struck by how the lack of air conditioning has not been a barrier to this very big development’s success. Parking is probably the answer there, and I’d rather park for free than pay for it, but $1 per hour in the CBD is cheap when you can park right out the front of where you want to go if you ask me.

    • Gene Tunny says:

      Thanks Pat. I’ve never been to Domain Central but will check it out next time I’m in Townsville. It’s possible I’ve over-estimated the importance of air-conditioning and it’s the location of the CBD relative to where the bulk of the Townsville population lives that is the problem.

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