Slowly but surely, the overhaul of central Bendigo's look and feel is taking shape.
The release of concept designs for the $90 million GovHub is the latest milestone as local and state planners set out just how the CBD will change.
The GovHub, being built on the site of the City of Greater Bendigo's headquarters, is a potentially tricky project for its architects.
The location, across the street from the grand old Town Hall, is prominent and sensitive, making the eventual design crucial to how the building functions and, importantly, how the public responds to its arrival.
Critics continue to question the council's decision to sell the site and become a tenant in the new building, but advocates can counter with an argument that a well-designed, vibrant, modern space should eventually win broad approval.
Almost anyone working in the existing Lyttleton Terrace building will say they cannot wait for their new home to be finished.
The bigger picture is how GovHub fits into the regeneration of the entire CBD precinct.
For many years, planners have spoken about the new council building being one of a series of "bookends" for central Bendigo, enjoying the status of the Bendigo Bank headquarters, the redeveloped McCrae Street campus of the Bendigo TAFE and the new law courts.
Stage Two of the TAFE's plan, including two new three-storey buildings, are currently out for public comment, while the $152 million law courts remain in the early stages of development.
As well as modernising the streetscape and the facilities available to the local community, the hope is that these projects will stimulate the CBD with an influx of new people with money to spend.
The continuing presence of empty shops in and around the Hargreaves Mall illustrates just how hard it can be to run a successful retail business in Bendigo.
But the city and its people are changing before our eyes as the vision set out in recent years is realised.
The fact is that the CBD will look and feel - and function - very differently in just a few short years.
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