BRIGHT FUTURE: Orange Business Chamber president Mark Madigan says a redeveloped Orange City Centre will bring exciting opportunities for Orange in the wake of Myer’s closure.Photo: STEVE GOSCH MYER Holdings Limited’s announcement it would close its Orange store in January was met with sadness on Friday, but business leaders also voiced their enthusiasm for plans to redevelop the building, saying they would inject fresh life into the central business district.

A development application (DA) has been lodged for a mix of specialty stores and a Harris Scarfe department store to replace the departing major.

Myer chief executive officer and managing director Richard Umbers said the company’s strategy was designed to deliver a “sharper and more focused offer”.

“These difficult but important decisions are a necessary step in the delivery of the new Myer strategy, which is designed to return Myer to profitable growth,” he said.

The move is expected to affect 50 jobs, however Myer acting corporate affairs and media general manager Mel Ward said Talent2 Recruitment would work with staff during the next eight months to help them either redeploy within the company or find another job.

“We do reach out to retailers and we actively try and help staff find other employment,” she said.

Orange City Council economic development committee chair and councillor Jeff Whitton said the closure was sad news and Myer had played an economic role in attracting shoppers from Bathurst and Dubbo.

But he said the redevelopment would make a significant improvement to Post Office Lane.

“The people of Orange know Post Office Lane is a place to stay away from and by turning it into a traffic area, it’s going to bring a little bit of life into it,” he said.

Orange Business Chamber president Mark Madigan said the news was not a surprise because of Myer’s decisions nationwide, but the fact a DA had already been lodged proved building owners Alceon and CPRAM Investments were committed to embedding themselves into Orange’s business community.

“We would like to suggest Harris Scarfe look at picking up some of the Myer staff,” he said.

“What it does highlight is a lot of people buy online – it’s just one of those things that’s inevitable but for Orange, [the redevelopment] is an extremely exciting proposition.”

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