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Port Adelaide growing so fast it doesn't need Renew Adelaide: Govt

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The State Government’s urban renewal authority says it axed funding for Renew Adelaide’s operations in Port Adelaide because the area is growing so fast that it no longer needs the not-for-profit’s help.

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Renew Adelaide connects start-up businesses with short-term, rent-free leases in vacant properties and helps property owners improve their buildings to attract tenants.

Renewal SA, the State Government’s land management and urban development body, ended funding for Renew Adelaide’s operations in the Port last week.

Since Renew Adelaide launched its Port Adelaide program five years ago – with Government pilot funding of $15,000 – 28 businesses have tested their ideas using rent-free lease arrangements. By the end of the arrangement, eight businesses, staffed by 20 people, were operating under the program in Port Adelaide. One had transitioned into a full rent-paying business.

However, Renewal SA chief executive John Hanlon has told InDaily Port Adelaide’s retail and hospitality sectors simply no longer needed the program.

“There’s plenty of investment going into the Port, both private and public,” Hanlon said.

“We don’t need to use the Renew Adelaide model, which is a very good model.

“We’ll let the market now deal with that (the problem of commercial building vacancy in Port Adelaide).”

He said there were “no issues with Renew Adelaide, other than (that) we’ve got a different model”.

That model no longer required the “artificial” aid of the program, because of high demand and heavy private and public investment in the area, he said.

Renew Adelaide CEO Tim Boundy told InDaily this afternoon that it is pleased with high levels of investment in the Port, but that its program would only add value to that.

“Renew Adelaide is really encouraged that there is new private investment in Port Adelaide,” said Boundy.

“The Renew model is designed to complement and not hinder private investment and offer a low-risk way to activate areas that are still in a period of growth.

“We believe Port Adelaide could still benefit from the model during this period of growth by way of access to a database we hold of prospective businesses that proprietors would like to operate specifically in Port Adelaide, but are only resourced to do so via the Renew Adelaide model.”

A spokesperson for Renewal SA told InDaily last week that Renew Adelaide’s funding was cut because its 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.”

Mid-last year, the State Government unveiled a 1260-house redevelopment to be constructed on the Port Adelaide waterfront after buyers were identified for around 23ha of Government-owned land there.

The building work is expected to cost around $280 million in private investment.

Renew Adelaide will continue to receive $300,000 from the Government and $200,000 from the City of Adelaide for its activities in the Adelaide CBD this financial year.

Port Adelaide Mayor Gary Johanson was unavailable, but his office provided a statement, saying “Renew Adelaide was doing some incredibly good work and I’m disappointed the funding has ended”.

“Business attraction and retention is vital for the continued revitalisation of Port Adelaide and we look forward to continue working with the State Government and small business.”

 

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