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State Government axes Renew Adelaide from the Port

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The State Government has axed all funding from Renew Adelaide’s Port Adelaide program, which has helped bring 28 new businesses to life in the area since it started five years ago.

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Renew Adelaide is a not-for-profit which connects start-up businesses with short-term, rent-free leases in vacant properties and helps property owners improve their buildings to attract tenants.

State Government authority Renewal SA’s funding for Renew Adelaide’s operations in the Port ended today – a few weeks after Renew Adelaide was informed of the decision.

Since Renew Adelaide launched its Port Adelaide program with $15,000 in pilot funding from the Government in mid-2012, 28 businesses have tested their ideas in the market using rent-free lease arrangements negotiated through the organisation.

Eight businesses, staffed by 20 people, currently operate under the Renew Adelaide program in Port Adelaide.

Seven of these will either have to vacate premises shortly or negotiate new leases with landlords, while one, food-truck-turned-restaurant Low and Slow, has secured a longer-term lease with its landlord.

Proprietor of Low and Slow Angus Kiley said his business was “a great example of the great outcomes Renew Adelaide’s work can achieve in Port Adelaide”.

“We are really thankful for Renewal SA’s support through Renew Adelaide and we personally couldn’t have launched without this type of support,” he said.

“It’s a shame for the other businesses here who are new and small that are showing really strong potential from the outset.”

The crowd at the launch of Renew Adelaide-supported Port Adelaide business Low and Slow in 2015. Photo: supplied

Some of the Southern-style cuisine on offer at the launch. Photo: supplied

Leedwell property manager Justin Dangerfield, who looks after several Port Adelaide properties containing Renew Adelaide-supported businesses, said the area remained in “desperate need” of the organisation’s work.

“Port Adelaide needs to be nurtured back to the amazing and vital place that it was and can be (… and) Renew Adelaide played a vital part in this process, and their presence needs to continue.

“Port Adelaide is one of the most historic and important parts of the state – it is till in desperate need of rejuvenation, development and investment.

“It is so sad to see an empty tenancy and the activation and opportunity for not only the area but a small business is beneficial on so many levels, activation, jobs, creation and life.”

Renew Adelaide CEO Tim Boundy said it was disappointing the Government was no longer willing to fund the program – which had been initially commissioned to “complement” the Port Adelaide Master Plan – but he was grateful for the Government’s support over the years.

“It is disappointing that we could not continue work to complement the major developments occurring, as the area is reaching a tipping point,” said Boundy.

“We had developed strong relationships with private building owners, a deeper understanding of the environment, and we were seeing some excellent applications of businesses wanting to be based in Port Adelaide.

“We are proud of the commitment and passion we’ve put into Port Adelaide over the last few years, and wish all the best to its continued renewal.

“We are thankful for Renewal SA’s initial invitation to work in Port Adelaide, and for their ongoing support for the last four years.”

Boundy added that his organisation would continue its CBD program, which will receive $300,000 from the Government and $200,000 from the City of Adelaide this financial year.

“We have funding and exciting projects happening in the city, and the team will focus their attention on creating jobs and opportunities, activating property and making Adelaide one of the best cities in the world,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Renewal SA told InDaily Renew Adelaide’s role in the Port was always intended to be an “early intervention program”.

“The temporary activation of vacant property was always intended as an early intervention program as part of a much broader effort to breathe new life into the Port,” the spokesperson said, adding that Port Adelaide was becoming a sustainable commercial precinct.

“Renewal SA welcomes the increase in commercial interest and investment in Port Adelaide.

“With major construction developments about to start later this year in Dock One, as well as the recent successes of the Laneways Festival, Wonderwalls and Winterfest, it is clear that the Port is transforming into a sustainable commercial market.”

The statement says: “Renewal SA, with the City Port Adelaide and Enfield, has been pleased to be able to engage Renew Adelaide as a part of the revitalisation program at Port Adelaide.”

“Renewal SA’s efforts are reaping benefits for the community, including stronger commercial interest in the area as can be seen by two development proposals at Dock 1 and Dock 2 , and with the opening of the new Port Admiral Hotel.”

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