Adelaide throws off the shackles as laneway policy create City of Cool


The City of Churches is quickly building a reputation as the country's City of Cool thanks to the expansion of a unique laneway culture.

JLL Strategic Research Analysts Hamish Crouch believes Adelaide's reputation as boring, conservative, and bland is a thing of the past, thanks mainly to the State Government

In 2012, the State Government made it a strategic priority to create a ‘vibrant city’, noting it is essential that Adelaide competes nationally and internationally for people and investment and thrives as a cultural, economic and social centre for the state.

"While the new Adelaide Oval has been revolutionary (as expected), it is the transformation of the CBD’s underutilised laneway space that has had a significant impact on the ‘vibe’ of this city," Mr Crouch said.

A key element in the activation of Adelaide’s laneway network has been the South Australian government’s amendment to the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 – providing for a new category of small venue (maximum capacity of 120 persons) within the CBD. With the aim of both reinvigorating these underused thoroughfares and stimulating small business activity, the small venue licence provides flexibility and simplicity to entrepreneurs within Adelaide’s hospitality industry.

Mr Crouch said the licence has had an exciting impact on the city. Since 2013, 42 Small Venue licences have been issued, with a further 11 awaiting approval.

"Along with the social benefits of increased activity and vibrancy in the CBD, there is also an associated broader uplift for the local economy. Renewal SA estimates that 200 jobs have been created and AUD 5million invested in the establishment of Adelaide’s small licensed venues," he said.

So far, Adelaide’s West-End has been the main benefactor, with the creation of a number of unique, high quality food and wine bars along Peel, Leigh and Bank Streets adding a cultural edge to Adelaide’s entertainment precinct. 

Of the 42 licences issued – 30 new establishments have opened, with the stimulatory effect of this policy in the midst of broader economic challenges a striking endorsement for the state government’s ‘Vibrant City’ program. 

Will the revitalisation stagnate in the near future?

"Absolutely not – the State Government, in February, announced a new ‘City Makers’ program, offering grants of up to $20,000 for entrepreneurs looking to set up business in Adelaide’s CBD. When paired with the existing initiatives and forecast CBD population growth of 69% between 2015 and 2036, the stage is set for the ‘City of Churches’ to continue its exciting rise from the shadows."

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