3D facades: Window shopping in the lie street

[From the UK’s Daily Mail]

Window shopping in the lie street: 3D facades in high street hide dozens of empty shops

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:00 PM on 12th October 2010

Shoppers are getting a vision of the future in one town – and are walking in a  ‘virtual’ world.

Fake facades have been put up in 18 shops in Redcar’s high street – along with one ‘virtual’ house.

Shops such as the British Heart Foundation, Greggs, KFC and menswear store Greenwoods have been joined by the simulations, which aim to attract business investment to the area.

The images disguise parts of the street, giving the impression units are occupied, which otherwise would be riddled with boards and shutters.

There is a virtual restaurant, cafe, furniture, bookshop, gift shop, two fashion stores, electrical goods and accessories shop to fill the gaps as the recession continues to bite.

The seaside town has been hit hard by the downturn and the loss of 1,600 jobs at the Corus steelworks was a major blow, but council bosses hope to improve the look of the town’s high street and attract new businesses through the use of the clever images.

There is a even a splendid ‘virtual house’ near the sea front on the Esplanade,  complete with plush sofa, grand fireplace and ornamental vases.

Only on closer inspection do passers by realise the front is fake – and a  sticker says: ‘Uplifting our town centres programme’.

Virtual shoppers can be seen on the images, with some inside a make-believe boutique fashion store.

Earlier this year fake facades were installed by North Tyneside Council in Whitley Bay to give the impression of a high quality delicatessen.

Redcar hit the headlines two months ago when it was revealed that the average visitor to the town spends just £1.70.

The once-flourishing resort has struggled in recent years and there are plans for a £40million regeneration of the town, including a landmark 80ft-high vertical pier.

A separate £37million plan hopes to create a swimming pool, sports hall and  civic and community facilities.

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