Bradford has got loads of vacant shops. Most of Market Street, a good smattering on Broadway and a few others dotted about too, such as those on Rawson Place (below). Empty shops are a national issue, but Bradford has more than most other large centres.
One of the city centre's most prominent units, the former Zavvi / Virgin Megastore unit received some positive news last week. The support of Fabric who run the Pop Up Art Space at Centenary Square and financial support from the Council can helcp provide lots of artists to become entrepreneurs, ensure one can buy unique and interesting stuff in the centre of Bradford and hopefully lead to other shops being occupied in the centre of the city. One similar place I visited was the Corner Emporium in Middlesbrough, providing free retail space to budding entrepreneurs. Artistsandmakers.com are producing a report on Pop Up People to see how all of this impacts on the High Street.
The empty shops in Bradford City Centre can be a real opportunity for the city to do something bold and different. Its not just pop up shops, empty retail units can be brought back to permanent use like the work by Space Makers Agency at Brixton Village (I've probably used this example about ten times now, but that's because its ace - see below).
The number of vacant shops in the region has been documented in the media by Insight With Passion. This consultancy is giving free advice to retailers in the city centre in a couple of weeks on how to 'bring magic back to the high streets'. There are many creative entrepreneurs in the district, such as Kitschen Sink who have things to sell and surely the shops are the best places to sell them, for the whole retail experience!
Perhaps one day larger empty buildings in Bradford could become something like Afflecks Palace in Manchester or Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin (below)...