THE retail pain experienced in central Wodonga during major roadworks has been laid bare in independent data dating back to when the infrastructure upgrades started.
Data supplied to The Border Mail by Fisher Property Advisors calculated the vacancy rate in central Wodonga at 11.73 per cent at the end of the works, but the situation was worse in 2017 with the opening of the Mann Central and Woolworths shopping centres leading to a significant over supply.
In August 2017, the vacancy rate was 36 per cent.
"Given we had two new shopping centres open up it was always likely we would have an over supply for a while," director Simon Fisher said.
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"We've still got an over supply at the moment, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months.
"We've got a bit of a clean slate, but it is not necessarily clear sailing to fill up now.
"If we didn't have Albury as such a strong centre then you would confidently say without not too many other external forces, High Street would take off with everything being new and having been through those rocky times.
"But Albury is there and there is always competition around with the satellite commercial centres in Wodonga."
The data doesn't include Wodonga Plaza.
Mr Fisher said opportunities existed in central Wodonga for people to invest given rental prices remained lower than the Albury CBD.
"With the street finished there will be more certainty for traders and new businesses to open up," he said.
"The ones who have done the hard yards are not about to shut and should also stay for a while."
It represents 2300 square metres of the 4886 square metres presently vacant in the Wodonga CBD.
The site was sold last year for more than $4 million last year with plans recently presented to Wodonga Council for approval.
Business Wodonga chairman Graham Jenkin said he hoped central Wodonga could rebound strongly in coming months.
"There is no doubt the last few years have been incredibly challenging for business in central Wodonga," he said.
"Their resilience has been incredible.
"The positive is the roadworks are behind us and we've got a great starting point moving forward.
"It is a growing city and hopefully business-minded individuals can sense some opportunities now before us."
High Street re-opened to traffic late on Friday last week with final landscaping works to be carried out until the middle of July with a community celebration for the end of roadworks also planned in coming months.
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