Arts a driver of urban renewal

The Adelaide City Council's strategy to transform the West End into the arts centre of Adelaide has been given the seal of approval with the State Government's arts funding body, ArtSA, moving into the refurbished West's Coffee Palace in Hindley Street.

Through its Heritage Incentive Scheme and West End Building Improvement Program, Council has contributed $317,000 over the past five years towards the restoration of the elaborately decorated West's Coffee Palace by property developer, Con Angelopoulos.

"We were able to offer ArtSA a unique office environment in a rapidly growing arts and culture quarter," Con Angelopoulos said. The relocation of ArtSA follows the move, in September last year, of the headquarters of the Adelaide Festival of Arts into another refurbished heritage building in Hindley Street, opposite West's Coffee Palace, creating a powerful arts focus in the precinct.

From the earliest days of the Colony, the City's West End and Hindley Street have played a vital role in the commercial and social life of Adelaide. But after the fortunes of the precinct began to wane in the late 1980s, Council adopted a plan to revitalise Hindley Street by changing its focus from low rent, R rated enterprises to a more dynamic mix of culture, education, retail and leisure.

In 1996, this plan evolved into the West End Urban Development Strategy. A working group, the West End Strategic Taskforce, was established by Council and chaired by the Lord Mayor to implement the strategy.

The focus on the arts as a driver of urban renewal has intensified in West End over the past year. The successes have been building in the past 12 months with 10 arts organisations opting to relocate in the area. Council has put other programs into effect to support the arts led recovery of the West End.

These include working with the local precinct group, real estate developers and businesses to fund an agency which is managing Hindley Street as an arts and cultural retail quarter. Already 5% of capital works programs in the precinct are designated for art works.

In this financial year, Council is planning an $850,000 paving project for East Hindley Street, which will see one kilometre of pavement from Morphett Street to King William Street transformed with specially designed tiles created by young artists at Carclew Youth Arts Centre.