What is the Renew Newcastle project?

Renew Newcastle was founded in late 2008 by creative thinker and entrepreneur Marcus Westbury in an attempt to get artists and creative projects into some of the growing number of empty shops and offices within the Newcastle CBD.

Despite the high number of empty spaces there was still a comparative lack of affordable spaces in which creative projects and initiatives could get started.

By the end of its first year, Renew Newcastle had initiated more than 40 creative enterprises and projects in what had been empty buildings.

The creative enterprises included art galleries, artist studios, web and graphic design businesses, small publishers, film and video studios, retail shops for locally made arts and crafts, fashion design businesses, a jewellery workshop, a milliner, and two photography studios and galleries.

By the end of 2009 Renew Newcastle had about 25 formerly empty spaces under management. Just as importantly, it had been the catalyst for renewed commercial investment in the area around Newcastle's formerly dilapidated Hunter Street Mall.

Renew Newcastle had widely been cited by property owners, business groups, media and politicians as having been responsible for a turnaround in a formerly rundown area of the city. Commercial tenants had returned to the area for the first time in years and Renew Newcastle was gradually moving into other parts of the CBD.