Bunbury’s CBD is being reinvigorated in many ways. In economics it is often the case that what people think will happen becomes a reality; and so it seems calls to reinvigorate Bunbury’s CBD are blossoming into a transformation for retailing and hospitality.
The year has opened with a swag of new announcements for Bunbury’s CBD, including the purchase of the former St John of God Hospital site in Edward Street by German based international supermarket chain Aldi and Prime West plans to link the Stirlings Centre with Centrepoint Shopping Centre.
During the past few months there have been numerous changes to retailing and hospitality in the CBD and surrounds. Several new venues and dining areas with Small Bar Licences have opened along Victoria Street including Sala, Market Eating House, Mojo’s, Yours Or Mine, Lost Bills and Café 140. Fitzgerald’s has opened a new upstairs, upmarket bar called Industry Lounge and the back half of the Burlington Hotel’s Blues Club has been demolished and developed as a new car park off Eliot Street. Commercial Realty is marketing a new development called Victoria Square planned for the corner of Clifton Street. Principal Mike Jenkins said a local developer was planning a three-level mixed use development for residences and operators of cafés, restaurants, retail and tourism stores, 24/7 or extended hours mini marts, medical and other consultants and offices.
In Stephen Street the Prince of Wales Hotel, which opened a new function room upstairs late last year, is working on an alfresco dining area with fixed umbrellas and decking which should be operating by the end of February. Owner Mitch Thorn, who has had the pub for 18 years, said the work was part of a five-year project which had seen a complete rebuilding of the hotel’s interior and balcony.
In November, Rubys Accessories moved from Centrepoint into Stephen Street, next door to Bon Marche, and the winning entry in last year’s competition run by Bunbury’s Youth Advisory Council, a ‘Revolution’ sculpture, was moved from the market square in Marlston Waterfront to an absolute waterfront location on Usher Promenade. In the CBD’s north, groundwork has begun on a $2m mixed use development next to Marlston Chinese on Casuarina Drive which will include four offices, four residential apartments and two bars. The development has planning approval and developer Adam Comito is seeking a building licence, for work expected to be completed by Christmas. Adam will run one bar, possibly with a German beer hall influence, and the other rooftop bar with viewing platform will be offered for lease.
On Spencer Street work continues on a big redevelopment of Bunbury Toyota and office supplies store Staples has moved in next to Eastman and Co, after vacating the premises at the corner of Strickland Street and Albert Road. Plaza Shopping Centre is undergoing a $15m redevelopment, while the Parade Hotel is being refurbished and a new lessee has taken over the former Extension restaurant on the Back Beach with renovation work being carried out. Bunbury is on a roll!