Perth CBD - Desolate?

jakeseven7

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That can't be. The economy is going gangbusters here.

Not in the CBD it hasn’t. I’d suspect it’s the people digging stuff out of the ground that drove the economy.

The PCC trading numbers were abysmal, hotel occupancy horrific, restaurants and hospitality are down. It relied heavily on freedom of movement from other states and international too of course.
 

oznflfan

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While true, the tanking of Perth's CBD has been long in the making. It was protected by unreasonable trading hour restrictions for decades, and significant investment from equity and super funds in to suburban shopping centres has really seen big changes in how Perth looks at the city. The pandemic has just added to the pre-existing woes.

It's probably one small reason why the support in the community for the government has been pretty unwavering
Yeah visited Perth in Feb this year and shocked at the number of vacant shop fronts in Hay & Murray Streets. Fremantle just as bad if not worse, but no international or domestic tourists even worse for them.
 

kookaburra75

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While true, the tanking of Perth's CBD has been long in the making. It was protected by unreasonable trading hour restrictions for decades, and significant investment from equity and super funds in to suburban shopping centres has really seen big changes in how Perth looks at the city. The pandemic has just added to the pre-existing woes.

It's probably one small reason why the support in the community for the government has been pretty unwavering
It's been a long time coming. When I moved to Perth in 1981 I was surprised how sterile and soulless the CBD was compared to other cities. Besides Miss Mauds buffet, there really wasn't anything there except office buildings. Besides the Melbourne Hotel up on Milligan Street there wasn't a lot going on. And over the years, not a lot has changed. The suburbs have always been a lot more exciting. Although when I first arrived into WA I remember going into the office on a Monday morning, mentioning I had found these fantastic Italian restaurant in Northbridge and pubs like Clancys in Fremantle, only to receive comments such as "...no one goes to Fremantle...".
 

OZDUCK

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While the Covid crisis has undoubtedly affected hotels & restaurants etc. the CBD has been dying since the early 1970's. St Georges Terrace once had an attractive Victorian/Edwardian streetscape which the government of the day in the 1960/70's allowed/encouraged to be torn down and replaced by soulless and boring concrete boxes. This has resulted in the "sterile" feeling kookaburra75 noted. The inner city cinemas died out during the 80's and a number of large Department stores were closed or bought out reducing the attractiveness of shopping in the city.

The construction of major centres like Joondalup and the decentralisation of State Govt. offices plus electronic access has reduced the number of people who need to go into the city - I would be lucky to have visited the CBD once a year over the last 10 years. The shopping in Perth is worse than in the large suburban shopping centres and there are no parking hassles at most of these. The growth in the suburban rail lines over the last 20 years or so has also made it easier to get to suburban centres rather than just the centre of town. There is also certainly a problem with a growing view, possibly exacerbated by sensationalist reporting, that the CBD is unsafe.
 
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oznflfan

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While the Covid crisis has undoubtedly affected hotels & restaurants etc. the CBD has been dying since the early 1970's. St Georges Terrace once had an attractive Victorian/Edwardian streetscape which the government of the day in the 1960/70's allowed/encouraged to be torn down and replaced by soulless and boring concrete boxes. This has resulted in the "sterile" feeling kookaburra75 noted. The inner city cinemas died out during the 80's and a number of large Department stores were closed or bought out reducing the attractiveness of shopping in the city.

The construction of major centres like Joondalup and the decentralisation of State Govt. offices plus electronic access has reduced the number of people who need to go into the city - I would be lucky to have visited the CBD once a year over the last 10 years. The shopping in Perth is worse than in the large suburban shopping centres and there are no parking hassles at most of these. The growth in the suburban rail lines over the last 20 years or so has also made it easier to get to suburban centres rather than just the centre of town. There is also certainly a problem with a growing view, possibly exacerbated by sensationalist reporting, that the CBD is unsafe.
Can you imagine walking down Hay Street Mall at 2AM on a Saturday night?
 

nutwood

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It's been a long time coming. When I moved to Perth in 1981 I was surprised how sterile and soulless the CBD was compared to other cities. Besides Miss Mauds buffet, there really wasn't anything there except office buildings. Besides the Melbourne Hotel up on Milligan Street there wasn't a lot going on. And over the years, not a lot has changed. The suburbs have always been a lot more exciting. Although when I first arrived into WA I remember going into the office on a Monday morning, mentioning I had found these fantastic Italian restaurant in Northbridge and pubs like Clancys in Fremantle, only to receive comments such as "...no one goes to Fremantle...".
Not sure if you stayed in WA but the America's Cup kicked Fremantle along very nicely. I haven't been to Clancy's for quite a few years but it was pumping last time I was there.
Seriously OT but to show the pub service you get when pokies are banned; in the 90's, Clancy's was a favourite haunt and the dish of choice was baby octopus. Ten years later, after re-locating to Tasmania, back in WA visiting Clancy's. Baby octopus no longer on the menu but they remembered and prepared it especially for us. What can you say?!
 

OZDUCK

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Can you imagine walking down Hay Street Mall at 2AM on a Saturday night?
Never done it in over 60 years of living in Perth - so no. I am very out of touch with what happens at night in Perth CBD which is why I said "possibly". It is just that I always have a worry about some of the more sensational reports as 'bad news' seems to be what gets people reading papers or watching TV news.
 

kookaburra75

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Not sure if you stayed in WA but the America's Cup kicked Fremantle along very nicely. I haven't been to Clancy's for quite a few years but it was pumping last time I was there.
Seriously OT but to show the pub service you get when pokies are banned; in the 90's, Clancy's was a favourite haunt and the dish of choice was baby octopus. Ten years later, after re-locating to Tasmania, back in WA visiting Clancy's. Baby octopus no longer on the menu but they remembered and prepared it especially for us. What can you say?!
I was there when they won The Cup. I was working out in the Bush listening to the races on the short wave radio, and of course the last one. I liked what they did doing up Freo, it was interesting how suddenly Perth had 'discovered' Freo.

But, the funniest thing was how the number plates came out with the America's Cup image and the tag line 'WA Home of the America's Cup'. After they lost it four years later, people were going around altering the number plates to read, 'WAs Home of the America's Cup'.
 

exceladdict

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I think CBDs generally have tanked, due to work from home rather than any travel restrictions. Workers are the bulk of their denizens.

Not in the CBD it hasn’t. I’d suspect it’s the people digging stuff out of the ground that drove the economy.

In my experience, it was the resources construction boom that brought in so many ex-pats, which drove our real estate bubble and actual people visiting the CBD (almost 10 years ago now). With Chevron, Inpex, Shell building plants / preparing new projects; alongside the miners, every tier one, two and three consulting and services firm was opening offices and providing contractors to extract dollars above.

East/West/Central Perth apartments are still selling up to 25% below 2012-14 peaks, completely disconnected from the broader housing market. That's probably a lack of demand from ex-pats, international students and airbnb, which are all related to border closures.

The suburbs have always been a lot more exciting. Although when I first arrived into WA I remember going into the office on a Monday morning, mentioning I had found these fantastic Italian restaurant in Northbridge and pubs like Clancys in Fremantle, only to receive comments such as "...no one goes to Fremantle...".
Some things don't change 😅 although we do go down to freo whenever Escape hunt open a new room. After last years' first lockdown ended, we did just this, and tried to get a meal before doing the pub heist room. Walking up what used to be the 'cappucino strip' after dark, I was reminded why I don't go there.

Can you imagine walking down Hay Street Mall at 2AM on a Saturday night?

When in Perth for work trips we avoid the CBD once dark. And this is from years ago.

Never done it in over 60 years of living in Perth - so no. I am very out of touch with what happens at night in Perth CBD which is why I said "possibly". It is just that I always have a worry about some of the more sensational reports as 'bad news' seems to be what gets people reading papers or watching TV news.
I'd avoid Northbridge because it's not my type of crowd, unless I desperately wanted to try a new restaurant (Northbridge is busying up again for sure). But the main reason to avoid the CBD is there's not much to do there. Yes, some of the hotels have decent restaurants attached, and there are various other things dotted around the place, but without a significant resident population in apartment buildings etc, the city just isn't a convenient destination for locals. Kind of like Fremantle.
 

Hvr

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Could this be part of the problem?
 

Daver6

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While some of these views are fairish, I don't think it's an overly balanced picture. There are heaps of great spots in the CBD to go for a drink and a meal. The city is absolutely pumping on a Friday evening with workers having dinner and afternoon drinks.

Over the years there have been a bunch of new small bars and restaurants. They're not all set out in a strip one after another. For a lot of them you need to know where you're going. Try getting a reservation at a CBD restaurant on a Saturday night. Good luck unless you've planned in advance.
 

exceladdict

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While some of these views are fairish, I don't think it's an overly balanced picture. There are heaps of great spots in the CBD to go for a drink and a meal. The city is absolutely pumping on a Friday evening with workers having dinner and afternoon drinks.

Over the years there have been a bunch of new small bars and restaurants. They're not all set out in a strip one after another. For a lot of them you need to know where you're going. Try getting a reservation at a CBD restaurant on a Saturday night. Good luck unless you've planned in advance.
Fair point. Northbridge when we go in to visit Escape This is generally pretty busy as well. And same experience with needing to make reservations at nicer places for dinner on Fri/Sat, or even find a seat.

I have to say I have mixed feelings about needing reservations. I know this sounds completely over entitled, but IME growing up in Perth you only needed a reservation for a super fancy place, special occasion or large group. I mean I'm glad restaurants are busy, but it feels like, well, not Perth 😅
 

dajop

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Never done it in over 60 years of living in Perth - so no. I am very out of touch with what happens at night in Perth CBD which is why I said "possibly". It is just that I always have a worry about some of the more sensational reports as 'bad news' seems to be what gets people reading papers or watching TV news.

I lived in/around the Sydney CBD in the mid 90s (Darlinghurst and Pyrmont specifically) and used to spent a fair bit of time in the CBD at night (as I did a reverse commute - worked in the suburbs). A lot of colleagues (particularly those living in the west) used to ask me if I was scared to a walk around at night, as there's no way they would go there after dark. Maybe they were getting Manhattan mixed up with Sydney, but I certainly had no issues, and did not feel unsafe at all. Definitely blame the TV news and radio shock jocks, whose core business is sensationalising absolutely everything.

Having said that, we actually spent a 16 of nights in the Perth CBD in August. For the first 14 of those we were scared to leave our hotel room, even during the day ;) 🤣 But after our fears diminished we moved to another hotel for 2 nights. We did pass comment that there were an awful lot of homeless people around ( I think I said it feels like San Francisco) - but certainly didn't feel threatened by any of them. The hotel (Four Points) we were in for those last 2 nights was pretty much empty - eerily quiet.
 

dajop

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Yeah, if i recall correctly it was connected to an HQ incident last year.

Yeah, almost certainly didn't help with occupancy. People on AFF have mentioned they wouldn't stay at the Rydges Melbourne on Swanston, almost 12 months after the quarantine leak happened. (they couldn't anyway as it closed). These things aren't good for reputations, irrespective of the real risk of catching Covid from a HQ 6 months later.
 
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