The management at Masterton Lands Trust are confident of the CBD's economic development, defending a row of empty shops at the northern end of Queen St, which has drawn negative attention.

The three shops between Sushi Planet and Just Jeans, are owned by the trust, one of which closed last week, with the other two opening under new lessees in February. Trust manager and secretary Gary Percy would not confirm what businesses had taken over the new leases but said Masterton was a relatively "dynamic" town and the success of the trust's properties were a testimony to that.

"All trust properties are either occupied, under contract or under negotiations," he said. "It's brilliant really. We're very pleased to say all of our properties which are available for lease are within those three categories and that's come about because we've worked over the years since Christchurch at strengthening and maintaining our properties and replacing our properties."

Past business owners from the same properties have referred to the location as "tumbleweed street" and said specialty shops seem to be the most successful there.