Library plan welcomed in Exchange

Businesses in the Exchange in Dunedin are pleased with the idea of a having a library in their midst, expecting a resulting increase in foot traffic to bolster trade, if the plan reaches fruition.

The area has experienced a considerable decline in the past 30 years.

The former thriving commercial and transport hub has empty offices and businesses have moved north to George St.

Early last year, local businesses told the Otago Daily Times they were looking to hotel and apartment developments in the former chief post office and the former BNZ building in Princes St to bring life back to the southern end of the central business district.

Since that time, both of those ideas have ended up on the scrap-heap, and yesterday's news prompted eager support.

Hayden Baker, of the Classic Cafe, said passers-by provided 60% of the cafe's trade, and having a library nearby would "most definitely" be good for business.

"Coffee and books sound good to me."

Mr Baker said a library in the former chief post office would be a better option for local businesses than the former plan for a Hilton Hotel in the building, as a hotel would probably have had its own cafe, and other services for patrons.

Nectar Espresso Bar and Cafe co-owner Steven Calvert agreed the library option was better than the hotel.

"That would be great.

"It would be great to have someone in that building.

"It's one of Dunedin's best buildings."

But to really increase the number of people in the Exchange, and trade for local businesses, he said it was important there were offices in the building.

"I think it needs a combination of things."

John Wickliffe Newsagency owner Pat Sleeman said her business needed people in the street.

"It's as simple as that.

"There's not a lot of foot traffic here now."


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