HARGREAVES Mall is considered a good place to hang out, but could use a major facelift, according to shoppers.
A number of shoppers labelled the mall “ordinary” and “deserted".
Karen Lane said she used to work in Sussan’s clothes store but said she was no longer interested in going into the mall.
“It’s gone down hill,” she said.
“You just have to look at all the shops that have shut down. It’s not a good sight. It would take a lot of work to get it back on track.”
A number of students told the Bendigo Advertiser they regularly used the mall as a meeting spot.
Some teenagers said they spent up to six hours each day, shopping, and meeting up with friends.
“It’s a good place to chill,” year 11 student John Timms said.
“We come down every day. I like it because it's a good place for riding bikes or skateboards. But I think it could improve, it would be good to have more entertainment shops.”
Mitchell Boi, 13, said he liked the food shops in the mall.
"It's nice to come down and get some food," he said.
"But I think it could do with an upgrade."
Big Issue seller Clarissa Hall said the entire precinct was due for an overhaul.
She said plans for a shelter in the mall would be a good starting point.
"I think the council should spend a lot of money to invest in it," she said.
"It helps Bendigo attract shoppers and visitors to the area."
"It's pretty ordinary at the moment."
A number of shoppers said they preferred the marketplace as a place to fit in all their shopping.
Ms Lane said she was not surprised that people were not attracted to the outdoor shopping strip.
"There's no cover for people," she said. "It needs an upgrade. People want somewhere easier and more accessible, I think."
Bendigo Traders Association president Ross White said the number of empty shops in central Bendigo was a big concern.
The City of Greater Bendigo figures on CBD floor space shows vacancy rates dropped from 6 per cent in March 2012 to 4.2 per cent on June 30.