OVERALL commercial confidence in our city is quite difficult to gauge.
While it’s easy to look at the empty shops in shopping centres and along the shopping strips and fear for the local economy, the interest in commercial investment in the region is painting a different story.
Just this week we reported on the $1.85 million sale of a fast-food complex on Durham Street at a site passed by thousands of motorists every day.
It was one of a handful of high-profile commercial sales brokered in recent months by Burgess Rawson's Bathurst office, with selling agent Tom Doran saying Bathurst was appealing to investors given its close proximity to Sydney, its reasonable prices and projected population growth.
The next test will be the planned sale of the Bathurst Supa Centre on the Sydney Road at Kelso.
The complex already boasts some high-profile anchor tenants in Fantastic Furniture, BCF and Petbarn, plus smaller tenancies on a 7480 square metre site.
And the Supa Centre stands directly across the road from the Gateway development that is currently under construction.
Development applications have already been lodged with council to build a fast food outlet and service station on the site, along with a childcare centre and two-storey motel, but there will be light industry sites as well.
It all adds up to a much healthier scene than might be painted by a drive through the centre of the city. It also adds up to a changing world for all retailers to navigate, and they must wonder what the future holds.
The rise of online shopping has hit local shopping strips hard with small appliances, books, shoes and clothes among the most popular online purchases.
Online retailers can avoid some of the most crippling overheads such as rental costs and even staff costs, and use those savings to keep prices down.
But the investment areas that continue to do well seem to be fast food and bulky goods, which do not easily lend themselves to an online market - yet, at least.
For the moment, though, the confidence in Bathurst's commercial market represents confidence in the Bathurst economy.
The city is well located and is growing.
There will always be negative stories to tell in this space, but sometimes it's worth focusing on the the positives.