THE MANY 6160 “space activation” project has helped keep Kings Square alive and pumps $11,000 into the local economy every week, says research by Murdoch sustainability student Hannah Sutton.
Since Myer pulled out of Fremantle, its landlord Sirona Capital has struggled to find a new tenant, and amid concerns the precinct would fall into decrepitude an idea by not-for-profit organisation SpaceMarket saw a giant pop-up shop of 65 local creatives set up instead.
It’s a temporary fix and doesn’t collect as much rent as from a major tenant, but it provides employment for more than 100 people and has flow-on effects for the Freo economy, Ms Sutton’s research found. She says up to $11,000 per week is invested back into the local economy by the pop-up’s members.
“From the outside you can’t really tell how many people are in there,” she says.
Ms Sutton says the project has saved Freo from some nasty side-effects of disused space in the heart of the city; including “blight, vandalism, and antisocial behaviour in the square”.
Kirsten Masgait and Chevi Hughes of reSPOKE have a spot on the production floor where they transform old bicycles into outlandish sculptures for public spaces.
“We’re surrounded by people doing similar stuff, it’s really inspiring,” Ms Masgait said.
“Even though they’re all individual businesses you share tools, you share networks, you share resources with everybody. So that’s been a major benefit for the tenants,” Ms Sutton says.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM