HOUSING OPTIONS: Lismore City Council's Executive Director Sustainable Development Brent McAlister with owner of Music Bizarre, Deborah Ray, who recently had her DA approved for new shop top housing above her store in Magellan Street.
HOUSING OPTIONS: Lismore City Council's Executive Director Sustainable Development Brent McAlister with owner of Music Bizarre, Deborah Ray, who recently had her DA approved for new shop top housing above her store in Magellan Street. Contributed

Turning shop-top offices into homes could revitalise Lismore

IT'S been remaking our coolest capital city districts for the last two decades, and now it's coming to Lismore.

Turning the old offices above shops into living spaces has proven to revitalise city centres, bringing more demand for local shops and cafes and keeping the city humming in the evenings and on weekends.

Lismore City Council has recently approved one such plan above Magellan St's Music Bizarre and is now encouraging other developers to follow suit.

Owner Deborah Ray will transform the old office above her shop into two units at the front, plus a rear upstairs "vinyl lounge" for her customers.

Ms Ray said the development would allow residents to make the most out of Lismore's burgeoning cosmopolitan vibe.

"Lismore is really diverse; we have such a range of people here from all levels of society and it's the only place I want to live in the world," she said. "It's a very creative area; there are lots of musicians and artists. And the cafe culture is fantastic here.

"I've met people who come down from the Gold Coast who are amazed at the range of food and coffee that we have here, whereas they just have chain store stuff.

"We have unique and individual shops and spaces which are really special.

Lismore City Council's Executive Director Sustainable Development Brent McAlister with owner of Music Bizarre, Deborah Ray, who recently had her DA approved for new shop top housing above her store in Magellan Street.
Lismore City Council's Executive Director Sustainable Development Brent McAlister with owner of Music Bizarre, Deborah Ray, who recently had her DA approved for new shop top housing above her store in Magellan Street. Contributed

"Culturally it is a good for place for people who move from the city."

The council's Lismore Housing Strategy identified CBD housing as a key component to improve housing options, and the council has since waived carparking and Section 94 and 64 contributions for shop top housing.

"We are also willing to work with property owners closely to help them achieve the necessary fire regulations, which can be quite complicated," the council's executive director for sustainable development, Brent McAlister, said.

The strategy goes hand in hand with the council's Come to Heart initiative to revitalise the Lismore CBD.

"It's a known fact worldwide when you get permanent residents living in CBDs there's less crime ... and people living above a shop will obviously spend more money here," Mr McAlister said.

"Events and markets are fine, but there's nothing like permanent residents."


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