THE Bendigo City Centre needs to revolve around more than just retail, the city's peak business body says.
Be.Bendigo chief executive Dennis Bice's comments come as council prepares to discuss a proposed plan for the city centre's future.
He said Be.Bendigo was supportive of the direction suggested in the document, which councillors have been recommended to release after next week's council meeting.
"What we see in terms of the CBD is one of a multi-purpose environment," he said.
Mr Bice said the environment in which retail was operating was different, and it alone could not carry the city centre into the future.
"We need to be evolving," he said.
He said Be.Bendigo would be extremely supportive of plans to build a hotel in the heart of the city, within walking distance of key attractions.
The organisation also believed there was a place for a business hub in Bendigo.
Mr Bice said the hub could help support emerging businesses and enterprises seeking to co-working spaces.
He expected the future to hold more developments in the Bendigo CBD that offered both commercial spaces and inner city living, similar to plans for Wilson Lane.
Plans for big-ticket developments in Bendigo meant a number of organisations operating out of former residential properties on the fringes of the city were expressing interest in being closer to the centre, Mr Bice said.
They included legal firms seeking offices close to the new Bendigo Law Courts.
Mr Bice said developments like the 1000-desk GovHub planned for the Bendigo CBD would start to drive more activity and boost the number of people working in the city centre.
Increasing accommodation in the heart of the city would also encourage more people to spend more time in the precinct, the Be.Bendigo leader said.
Mr Bice said retailers should benefit from that.
Story continues below September council agenda
"A fantastic range of events happen in this city," he said.
Direct flights between Bendigo and Sydney added to the city's appeal.
"If we can continue to build on that, not only does it open up tourism, it opens up business," Mr Bice said.
He was aware of businesses seeking to move light freight in and out of the Bendigo Airport.
"It's exciting because there is a lot of really good stuff happening," Mr Bice said.
He said the city centre was already changing, with inner city living starting to take place and work being done on office spaces.
The report to councillors, in next week's meeting agenda, suggested encouraging people to park their cars sooner and walk a little further, in future.
Asked what he thought of the idea, Mr Bice said: "There is no doubt a lot of cities around the world have moved away from parking directly within the CBD."
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