In a blow to Hindley Street, Arts SA is leaving its historic premises on the nightclub strip for cheaper and more conventional office space in Wakefield Street.
The arts department has been a key tenant in Hindley Street since 2000, when it moved into the historic West’s Coffee Palace building.
The department is also moving administratively, from the Department of Premier and Cabinet to the newly established Department of State Development (for the full story on that move, go here).
Along with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, which is housed almost directly across the street, Arts SA’s tenancy has long been touted as a symbol of Hindley Street’s potential new future.
But with staff numbers – and its budget – dwindling, the department is moving to 30 Wakefield Street, a government-owned office building.
When the department moved into the Hindley Street space – one of Adelaide’s best-loved buildings – in 2000 it had about 60 full-time staff, including human resources and other support staff who have since been centralised.
Today it has about 30 staff.
An Arts SA spokesperson confirmed the move.
“The Government’s arts and cultural agency has resided in the old Coffee Palace building in the West End for almost 14 years,” she said.
“It moved in at a time when artists, galleries and arts organisations were setting up shop in the neighbourhood.
“There have been many changes in the West End since then and there are many more afoot with the opening of Adelaide Oval, the development of the Riverbank precinct and the new South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute and Royal Adelaide Hospital.
“Arts SA’s relocation to Wakefield House will reduce the agency’s accommodation costs and contribute to the Government’s overall savings.”
Arts SA will be located in Wakefield Street from the first week in June.
The President of the Adelaide West End Association, Andrew Wallace, is looking on the bright side.
He said it was a shame that Arts SA was moving, but he hoped that it would create opportunities for businesses to revitalise the ground floor and basement areas of the historic building.
“The question for me is what comes next,” he told InDaily.
“We’re sad to lose that group because this part of the city is about creativity and the arts: it’s quite a shame to lose them from the street for that reason, and I know they’re not happy about moving.”
However, he said there was potential for new food businesses, retailers, or galleries to move in which would engage more proactively with the street. What he didn’t want to see was the space leased to “tenants of last choice”, such as convenience stores and massage parlours.
“It is an opportunity to create a more vital daytime culture,” he said.
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