20 years of 'emptying out'

Gosford CBD has undergone a 20-plus-year process of change of use and an ongoing loss of 'vibrancy that led to the need for Create, Innovate Gosford City. 

In 1987, the opening of the Erina Fair shopping complex - the largest shopping centre on the Central Coast - relocated retail and services including major grocery outlets, chain brands, financial services and professional services to 6km out of the CBD.

In 1995, Tuggerah Westfield - 19km from the CBD - opened for business. Local Real Estate Agent, Rob Wilcox, who has worked in the area for 27 years, described the impact on the Gosford CBD retail as making it, "a very difficult market, simply because Gosford»has had to reinvent itself a couple of times".

He described the recent history of retail in the Central Coast as seeing the development of smaller, decentralised shopping centres in outlying areas, such as the Green Point shopping complex, located 12km from the Gosford CBD. This has

had a dramatic effect on retail in Gosford [because] people don't have to come in to Gosford to go in to the shops. The only people that come into Gosford to shop are those who work here and, obviously, those who live here. (Rob Wilcox, Real Estate Agent)

The result of 20 years of 'emptying out' was quantified in an April 2010 Audit of Gosford CBD, undertaken by local real estate agent Peter Turnbull from Citicoast Realty, which found 83 empty shopfronts in Mann Street, the main street in Gosford CBD, and surrounding streets.

The photographs below, which I took during my research, illustrate this 'vacant' and 'To Let' character of the CBD.

A vacant bank of empty shops on Donnison Street, Gosford Inside an empty shop on Mann Street, Gosford
A vacant bank of empty shops on Donnison Street, Gosford Inside an empty shop on Mann Street, Gosford
An empty store front in Gosford CBD An empty store front in Gosford CBD
An empty store front in Gosford CBD An empty store front in Gosford CBD