Business

Small Business

Streets ahead— Perth

Preface

Kicking off our new series on small-business neighbourhoods primed for investment is Northbridge, where a seedy reputation is changing thanks to government financing and an influx of innovative firms.

Australia, Northbridge, Perth, Business, Local

Northbridge, the area north of Perth’s main train station, is no stranger to change. Having hosted several waves of immigration from Greek to Chinese it is now poised to go through its most dramatic transformation yet, with the city pouring investment into the area’s infrastructure.

A plan to build a motorway through the suburb (later abandoned for a tunnel) led to a drop in residents in the 1960s and 1970s; as people moved out a wave of new restaurants and bars moved in. Over the next 40 years the area developed into Perth’s most lively nightlife…

  1. Planning policy
    A huge effort to conserve history, more housing, affordable rents and the impending Perth City Link are leading rejuvenation. Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority CEO Kieran Kinsella says that when finished, government investment around Northbridge, including the New Northbridge project and the Perth Cultural Centre, will total more than AU$1bn (€800m).

  2. Cultural diversity
    While the 2011 census tallied only 1,005 people in Northbridge (a figure now estimated to have reached 1,600), nearly three-quarters of them had parents who were both born abroad.

  3. The community
    Organisations such as OnWilliam, a collective of over 70 businesspeople, help foster a strong sense of community. In addition, initiatives such as Popsicle – a series of local designer pop-up shops – and influx of ideas from the local Asian diaspora help to keep the William Street strip fresh.

  1. Estate-agent contact
    The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (mra.wa.gov.au) can direct investors or businesses to estate agents, grant programmes and developers.

  2. Where to get your morning coffee
    Love Thy Neighbour, literally a hole in the wall behind the pioneering small bar Ezra Pound (see left), makes one of the best brews in town. Tiny coffee den Little Willy’s and iconic continental food store Kakulas Brothers also provide a good caffeine fix.

  3. Where to buy your media stack
    Northbridge Newsagency carries a decent selection of magazines while Wing Loong News and Books specialises in a great selection of Asian-language publications.

  4. Where to go for a good client lunch
    Countless Hong Kong-style dim sum restaurants and barbecue houses make for good informal meeting spots but slick canteen and bar Bivouac is our choice for lunch.

  5. Where to go with colleagues after work
    A wave of Mexican-inspired bars and restaurants that sit perfectly with Western Australia’s sunny climate have opened around Perth in the past two years. Northbridge’s La Cholita is a favourite with its 90 varieties of tequila, and food made for sharing.

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