New grants from Western Australia’s state government are designed to get visitors back to Perth’s central business district through inventive uses of the city’s vacant commercial properties.
The McGowan government has announced a $12 million spend intended to boost foot traffic in Western Australia’s capital, notably providing $1 million to the not-for-profit Activate Perth to revitalise vacant shops.
The organisation, which serves as an intermediary connecting people in search of space for temporary or medium-term activities with appropriate vacancies, will work with entrepreneurs and small businesses to make use of empty building spaces throughout the CBD.
Previous projects by the organisation have included a pop-up from the WA Poetry Society, a takeover showcasing traditional Somali mud masks, and numerous hospitality and retail takeovers that have brought Perth’s foodies and fashionistas into the city’s central stomping ground.
In addition to the support for small enterprises through Activate Perth, the raft of funding includes $4 million in event grants that will offer up to $100,000 to eligible businesses, property owners, and not-for-profits that are looking to organise activities such as markets, long-table dinners, live music performances and food and wine events in the city.
$7 million is also set to be invested in activating and revitalising Yagan Square, which will include a significant revamp of the Market Hall precinct, with the government announcing award-winning Western Australian event management company Nokturnl as the preferred entity to reinvigorate the space.
Nokturnl currently operates a number of venues in Perth, including The Old Synagogue in Fremantle and The Beaufort in Mount Lawley.
Premier Mark McGowan said the program was intended to “breathe new life into the CBD and Northbridge by offering financial support for events, revitalising unused spaces and revamping Yagan Square”.
He encouraged Perth residents and visitors to venture back into the CBD in support of hospitality and retail ventures that have struggled due to the recent decreased foot traffic.
Local Government Minister John Carey added that entities should approach these grants as a “blank canvas” to get inventive with unused commercial spaces.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to make use of vacant and empty spaces, to get people back into the city,” he said.
“My message to the community and to businesses is to make use of the funding, so we can activate the city and Northbridge and bring some vibrancy back into the CBD.”
The event grants will be available for 12 months beginning on 1 July. Applications will be handled by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
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