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Hindley St icon enlists Renew Adelaide in bid for tenants

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The owners of Hindley Street’s ornate, heritage-listed West’s Coffee Palace building, vacated by Arts SA bureaucrats four years ago, have enlisted Renew Adelaide to help fill it.

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In 2014, Arts SA moved its workforce out of the Edwardian-style building – which is also known as the Austral Stores – into a concrete office block on Wakefield Street.

The ground floor and the basement of the Hindley Street icon, which was designed by architect Albert Selmar Conrad and built in 1903, have been mostly empty since then.

The Duke Group, which owns the building, has partnered with Renew Adelaide in a bid to attract tenants using the not-for-profit’s 30-day rent-free model, which allows new start-ups to trial experimental business models at low risk, starting with the eastern half of the building’s basement.

A photograph of what was then known as Grant’s Coffee Palace, pictured in or around 1908, before it was taken over by John West in 1919 and renamed. Image: Francis Gabriel / State Library of South Australia.

Renew Adelaide CEO Tim Boundy told InDaily “attracting creative (business) ideas into Hindley Street will enable the continued transformation of the West End precinct”.

“The more we can better utilise our vacant commercial property to assist creative entrepreneurs trying to start new ventures, (the more) we can continue to see a shift in how people view our city.”

West End Association president Andrew Wallace told InDaily this morning that Hindley Street suffered, like many main streets, from a duplication of the same sorts of businesses.

He said those businesses are yiros outlets, shisha venues, convenience stores and massage parlours.

“If Renew Adelaide can attract the sort of businesses they generally attract that would be a very good thing,” Wallace said.

“To have a different use in the mix – a creative use – would be a really good thing.”

The sun goes down over Hindley Street.

The Renew Adelaide advertisement for West’s Coffee Palace calls for tenants motivated to bring “something new and different to the West End”.

“We really encourage our applicants to not just think of Hindley Street as a nightlife spot.

“We see the potential as far greater than ‘just another bar’ on Hindley.”

Renew Adelaide is seeking tenants for the West’s Coffee Palace basement. Image: Renew Adelaide

Wallace said the offering on Hindley Street was expected to change in coming years as a result of the development of new large hotels along the strip, as well as the expanded university precinct and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, to cater more effectively for the daytime market.

His organisation is running a consultation project, Future Hindley, to determine how traders and consumers believe the precinct should change over time.

Consultation opens next month.

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