January 7, 2010

Northbridge : Is Perth's Best Suburb Dead Already?


Say goodbye to Northbridge. Well, the Northbridge as you know it. If you think Northbridge is scary in 2010 (it isn't), fast forward to 2015, just five years from now. There are now plenty of new restaurants - The Sizzler has opened up in the disused DV8 nightclub, the Krispy Kreme Mega-plex is finally up and running. Wok-In-A-Box is in the same location that Billy Lee's Chinese Restaurant formerly occupied -  the increased rents in Chinatown forced a move out to the burbs (north of Walcott St). Finally, the Butcher Shop, one of the first William St tennants in the new revival of Perth's best street, called it a day. That spot is now Witchery for Men, right next door to Perth's first Baby Giordano...

What happened? Well, before we explore that, let me just say, at this point in time, it's unstoppable. Inevitably, Northbridge rents will finally reflect the true value of the area. A small suburb on the CBD's doorstep, full of character architecture and ethnic diversity, it was only a matter of time before daytime Northbridge moved from multicultural independents to multinational franchises.

The Northbridge Link, the project that will finally link the city with Northbridge, was the biggest nail in the coffin. Up until the Link was completed, Northbridge was firmly on the wrong side of the tracks. Now, in 2015, there is a seemless transition from King Street, home of such franchises as Gucci, LV, and Tiffany's, through to Northbridge. Early in 2010, the EPRA was on the verge of opening the first rejuvenated section of William Street, in the vicinity of the Brass Monkey. Rents have been raised by around 100%. Doubled, before the first part of the link has even begun. Some of the tennants that started the whole William Street revival, have already been advised their rents will be increasing by at least 50%.

Back to the present. Ironically, public organisations such as the Perth City Council and the East Perth Redevelopment Authority are doing all of this to increase vibrancy (I know a guy who runs a small website called The Worst of Perth who shits chimpanzees at the very mention of the word "vibrancy"). Well, if vibrancy is government code for "the sandwich queue at Subway has increased by 193%" or "we have observed a 1400% increase in the number of daytime shoppers with Prada handbags", then they're on the right path. Of course, there will also be a corresponding marked decrease in the number of daytime shoppers wearing Ray Bans, cut off skinny jeans and riding fixies. So, it's not all bad.

The worry with Northbridge, is it really is the last good suburb in Perth. Highgate is now done for. Anyone been to the Queens lately? How is it these days? Exactly. Leederville Hotel anyone? Exactly. Flying Scotsman is, well, doing admirably, but, the rest of Mount Lawley is over. Apart from HAL. Ever tried to get a good Asian meal in Mount Lawley? Exactly. Wok-In-The-Motha-Fuckin-Box, or you go hungry. Antonio's rolls? Haven't been back since that lady with the bird-flu decided it was a good idea not only to turn up to work, but to build my chicken schnitzel, Jarlsberg and anti-pasto roll (with added germs for flavour). Tan-po-po? Your rice is lumpy, and you burn through Japanese trainees at a rate of about 200 a year. Something aint right there. The other Japanese place?  Dudes from Hong Kong. Beaufort Street Bloggers, you have to get some Malaysian food next time you do a review. Oh wait, there isn't any! Last I heard, those bloggers were re-grouping for an imminent William Street Bloggers re-branding.

Yes, Northbridge changing beyond recognition - its unstoppable. But, just think of a Perth without a Northbridge. Make your own mind up if that's good or bad. The thing is, it will happen. Exit diversity, enter, as they say in Singapore - same same.

Jimmy Tsui's Seven Stars Praying Mantis Kung Fu School. When I go down an alley in a city, this is the type of thing I expect to see. If this alley was cleaned up, it would make a great location for some kind of designer bathroom accessories warehouse. That little cartoon Praying Mantis mascot on their sign just needs a slight modification - perhaps a Praying Mantis in a bath tub, washing his back with an eco-friendly loofa, 3 pairs of Egyptian cotton slippers laid beside, Ralph Lauren white bathrobe ready and waiting.

The picture below is the entrance to my local butcher - Dat Than Butcher. He will never, ever, clean those tags. On a rejuvenated William Street, this would ideally be a Leonards Chicken. Times like these, there needs to be an emoticon that represents shuddering, fear, and gastro-related illness. Closest I could come up with is this one, I call it "man holding in his puke"  :-(*) 
Its not like Perth has a lack of other areas that are under-utilised, and we just have to rejuvenate Northbridge before we run out of space. The photos below are from the Hay Street Mall. Look up next time you're walking down there, and realise the extent of upstairs empty spaces right in the middle of the city. Seriously, I am going to check out every single abandoned Cinema in Perth one day, there must be a dozen.


Finally, this is right next door to the abandoned Treasury Building. Or is it the Bronx? Of course it isn't, if it was the Bronx it would actually be used for something (hands up who is thinking of crack dens right now).

So. Northbridge - Perth's best suburb. Is it going to change? By how much? Will it suck? Does it suck now?My predictions are right here, add yours to the comments. You can even be anonymous. In the meantime, check out Northbridge, during the day. I recommend that bar where they serve beer in 750ml longneck bottles, and cocktails in old jam-jars. You know the one, right next to the Flight Centre franchise.

Enjoy.

49 comments:

Matt C said...

Ouch! That was brutal.

I was enraged when I heard about EPRA's rent hikes. Pushing out the interesting bits in the name of "vibrancy" is an interesting strategy.

Anonymous said...

Northbridge is a fucking shit hole full of wankers in polo shirts going clubbing. If I want to get stabbed by a large pack of drunk 18 year old jock fucktards I go in there.

acc521 said...

Sigh. Sad but true.

N said...

Acc, as you know, I have been murdered twice so far this year in Northbridge. Hang-on, are you in agreement with the post, or the comment above yours?

Anonymous said...

Northbridge is losing what little of its soul it has not already sold to the man. (THE MAN)
The only good bits in this urban cunthole are the food/interesting shops. The generic loser nightclubs started the rot and now the corporate motherfuckers are forcing the awesomeness out.
FUCKING GAY AND NOT IN AN AWESOME SEXUALLY LIBERATING CONNECTIONS WAY.
(Caps intended)

Anonymous said...

anonymous - im not sure how to say this without being harsh, but ill do my best. you are a fucking idiot.

there is a lot more to northbridge than james and lake street on a weekend. how about checking it out before passing comment?

sanj

N. said...

Oh no this could get complex. Knowing sanj, I am assuming he is refering to the first anonymous, the "Northbridge is a fucking shit hole full of wankers" anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Yeah there is a lot more... Dim Sum during the day and a scattering of clothes shops... Due to the large amount of shit clubs and Perth meat-head mentality it will always be a lame den of mediocrity aimed at Ed Hardy wearing shit eaters and frequented by the mainstream masses who just want to get in fights

Anonymous said...

oops sorry yes im referring to anonymous @ 4.08pm.

matt c - im insanely jealous of your french laundry experience.

sanj

Matt said...

I love Northbridge right now. I've been living here for the past 2 years, so I guess I'm part of the post tunnel phase of it's gentrification, and not really in any position to say that I don't think it should change or continue changing because it's what I've always known.

I hang out mostly up the top end of the William St, and could quite happily divide my eating and drinking between 399, Red Teapot, Mela, Tra Vinh, S&T Thai, Big Bowl, Cafe Asia, Good Fortune Roasting Duck.

I generally steer clear of James St on a Friday or Sat night, but the Piazza gives me some kind of hope that it could be a place where people get together for purposes other than shooting up or random glassings.

As for Northbridge being dangerous, it's not. I walk the streets on a daily and nightly basis and the worst thing that's ever happened to me is having the odd strange conversation with local street dwellers.

I think I lost whatever point I was going to make a while back... but yes, EPRA does suck, and Northbridge may well be shit once the link goes through, but I'm hoping enough of the dodginess will hang around to make it worthwhile.

N. said...

Hey Matt, I have checked your blog before - nice. I think we move in the same locale's... I would add Tak Chee (Chicken Rice), Welcome Inn (best Dim Sum in Perth that I know of) and occassionally, Viet Ho - they have a nice braised beef spicey Pho soup. The Viet next to The Moon is really good, pork chops! I don't know a single person who lives in this area who thinks its dangerous. I know *plenty* of people who frequent James Street, and don't get any further North. If we are lucky, the top end of William will retain some dodginess for a while yet...

Matt C said...

Amen! Long live the dodginess.

Bart said...

Your mate at Worst of Perth - you should suggest that he get a job at Perth Zoo. I am sure they could do with additions to their Great Ape collection.

mdilaz said...

Nate, I disagree with you wholeheartedly that gentrification along the lines of Subi and Mt. Lawley will happen in Northbridge. You've overstated the impacts that neighbouring renewal projects will have.

New Northbridge is now in its tenth year. Sure, some of the buildings that have been built are pretty average and small scale but they've bought new life to the area and arguably helped the William Street renaissance. The project is pretty much complete now with 5 lvs of NGO housing on Newcastle street now u/c and another 6 lvs of rental accomodation due to start this year on the old service station site.

The Link will increase land prices in the nearby area but I highly doubt you'll see the end of Chung Wah lanes, The Bakery ect. Surface carparks and old, empty factory units west of Milligan street will be redeveloped long before occupied commercial spaces. If anything, the 2000 people who'll live on the Link will appreciate and the diversity of Northbridge.

I do disagree with what EPRA is doing along William Street. They went in with good intentions and could've really aided the growth of creative enterprises. It's too bad they're a publically-run commercial authority.

Still, I have a little bit of faith left and I'm willing to see what their redevelopment yields. I also believe that you can't polish a turd, especially when it's the only turd of its kind round here.

The Worst of Perth said...

Witchery for men? Ahh, and I just know it will be so. As I pointed out to She-Ra Scaffidi, in our office one on one, i would have been FOR the Northbridge link until I saw what a complete nun's cunt they made of subiaco. How could sinking the railway have been such a disaster?

The Worst of Perth said...

mdilaz , no, no, they will fuck it up. Your touching faith I'm afraid will disappear like a metrosexual's cravat up a ringhole the moment the railway is sunk. Chung Wah's days are numbered. Only the shite will survive. Only shite will be built.

Bento said...

So where to next?

The Worst of Perth said...

Bart, you may be interested in this news just of the wire, "Perth Zoo fortunes in hands of masturbating gibbons. Secret visitor surveys have found 94% of visitors ONLY come to see wanking primates."

N. said...

Bento - two words - Maddington. They still have a really vibrant swingers club, where I met TWOP many years ago. Also Bento, whats with the red hooker lights on Pier? They're gone!

N. said...

Dilaz, I couldn't have put it more succinctly or clearly than TWOP. Nuns cunt / metrosexual's cravat / ringhole.

Bento said...

N - I foolishly thought International 300 would never go 'tasteful'. How wrong I was. I sent pics of it many months ago to our <a href="http://theworstofperth.com>wanking gibbon friend</a>, shortly before you ran your beautiful shots, but he did not deign to run them.

Maddington, you say. Hmm. I'll get back to you on that one.

Matt C said...

To TWOP's Subi-related scepticism, I add: East Perth. Both of them are soulless ghettos of pre-fab anonymous "lifestyle housing" with the chain stores and shitty restaurants that go with it.

The problem with EPRA apparently is that they're starved of funds, so to pay for the cultural centre redevelopment they need to raise rents. So, in trying to create synthetic "vibrancy" they kill the actual good stuff. Great move.

Bento said...

The problem is, any truly 'vibrant' (shudder) neighbourhood needs layers, where buildings incrementally change use over time. Give it 50 years, and East Perth and Subi might have a chance, once the real estate offices and generic cafes have had the chance to fail, change, fail, change and degrade over time, and migrants get to create a milieu. Until then, they'll be Legoland.

Perth's problem is the settlement patterns since the 1950s won't allow that to occur, because we created dormitory suburbs with no capacity for retrofitting.

Maybe the crappy bit west of Milligan Street, and our stomping ground east of Stirling Street offer the best opportunities. Who knows, maybe International 300 will become a beacon of hope.

minim said...

"Ever tried to get a good Asian meal in Mount Lawley?"

have you ever eaten at Goreng? Their food is top notch, and cheap to boot. I stopped reading when I read that, ill-informed wit is at the end of the day alas, ill-informed.

Anonymous said...

goreng goreng is to proper malay food what crabsticks are to seafood.

sorry minim

sanj

Anonymous said...

Spot on Bento in regard to needing layers lets see what time does as gentrification doesnt last forever

Tak Chee is the best gotta get in early though or the fried chicken rice runs out

Also that over fluoro lit thai place next to Viet Ho (where the whitey ratio is consistently mind boggling)is real good

I reckon 15 years william will be one of the best streets in australasia

we should do suburb swap and substitute northbridge residents for mirrabooka ones and then it'll be vibrant(er)

Anonymous said...

and I look forward to the cinema explorations

Anonymous said...

the way i see it, northbridge is full of fucken Asian overseas whores! go back to your own country

Anonymous said...

this is my own country so sucked in

Bento said...

Spot on Anonymous - they come over here and take all the good jobs, don't they? Cockhead.

cunt said...

oh no.
mt lawley has become fucked up.
the film-lab next to the ever-standing hungry-jack my jock cock is now gone. soon to be replaced with yet another modern fashionable cute furniture store with over-priced useless shit. there are enough of this pointless shops.
shitty films keep getting shown. either mainstream shit, or indie romantic films about couples and thieir cliche problems. fresh-prov closes at 10pm. more shops closing at 4pm. nothing open the weekend. shops open when they feel like opening. everything shut at dusk.

it just simply gets so depressing to see the unqiue potential with city with its artists/

the whole population is absolutely fucking brainwashed with what to like, what to say, what to drink, what to buy; in essence what to pray, what to think.
yes, everyone is mind controlled and has been for a century. most of us never explore what our potential is in being. we just sit and rot on a couch watching fucking sitcoms that dont provoke thought, but just feed mindless masturbation that sits within the laws and rules of buruecracy, of what is deemed moral, and nice and non-violet, to every farting good citizen, who isnt a terrorsit and is a moral person who is loved by everyone for they spend the cash they work all their life for on useless materialistic junk that breaks just outside the guranteed warranty of plastic magic SHIITTT!!!ODUXN33 E YE9RUR0EUO

fuck you australia and all of you stupid, stupid, STUUPIDDD FUCKING ARSEHOLE BRAINWASHED IDIOTS!!!!@!@

capitalism is a stinking cunt piss hole.

FUCKK!!! I LIVE IN SUCH A BAD BAD BAD TIME, WORSE THAN THE MIDDLE AGES EVEN!!! 95% OF THE WORLD IS POOR, YET WE CONTINUE TO STICK OUR DICKS IN THE ASS OF EACHOTHER, WHEN OUR STICKS SHOULD ONLY GO INTO THE BUMS OF GIRLS IN THE BEDROOM.

a revolution is coming australia and the world.
i dont feel this crumbling capitalist-half-inbred hell of a 'modern' era, will last much longer.
i'm waiting...

Anonymous said...

Northbridge is possibly the worst place I have ever been too, and I'm from the UK. Australia is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Jimmy Tsui's Seven Stars Praying Mantis Kung Fu School has no problems at all!! did u even ask the master that your going to put this on the web...?? what makes you think you can say this..??

well if northbridge is soo bad too you pplz then dont visit the place then... geez...

N said...

Hi Anon, no I did not ask the Master. I did, however, ask the master for permission to take some photos. You may have missed my somewhat tongue in cheek point - Jimmy Tsui's is EXACTLY the type of establishment that Northbridge needs. Independent, cultural, and an important piece in the Northbridge mix. Thanks for your comments, good to know that Jimmy Tsui has some backup!

Anonymous said...

Hey N,

I'm really interested in this abandoned cinema on Hay st. Which building is it? I've been trying to figure it out but no luck.

Austinniya said...

You's all may think a street sux or the whole city is a hole, then you wanna try living in QLD, the entire state is a fucking cunt, everything so terribly expensive considering the state is somewhat 10 to 30 years behind the rest of Australia. QLD is still stuck in the 1980's. LOL

Anonymous said...

The article has several untrue statements i wont go into detail as i cant be bothered but heres one:

1.) No chain stores will be allowed on EPRA owned buildings on william street.... the end...

so dont stress about witchery for men

p.s rent from william street building fund event and services in the cultural centre such as st Jerome's

N. said...

Thanks "Anonymous" employee of EPRA. However, my article has no untrue comments. Not one. So, think before you write, anonymous EPRA employee. Your comment, however, is untrue. "Allphones" is moving into an EPRA owned building. Allphones is a franchise/chain store. They have 25 stores in WA alone. "Happy High Herbs" is also moving onto an EPRA owned William Street property. This will be their TWENTIETH store in Australia. So, your comments about no chain stores are simply untrue.

Additionally, if you had of read my article, you would understand that it was written as a fictional account of William Street in 2015.

In a subsequent article on this site, dated March 7th, 2010, I wrote "EPRA, congratulations, you get Northbridge....The future mix of tenants on the "new" William Street is looking pretty special... EPRA YOU'RE THE DUKE OF PERTH A-NUMBER ONE!"

So, don't stress, anonymous EPRA employee. But perhaps think about diverting the rents away from the terrible St Jeromes "laneway" festival. Or at least, hold it in a Laneway.

By the way, EPRA, you are doing a good job on William, but I wouldn't be proud of the cultural center...

Irish said...

Not sure if anyone still reads this but it's interesting that 6 months on there are still bugger-all tenants in the William St area even with EPRA involved. And it's for 2 reasons.

Police.
Commissioner.

That stupid wanker shut down Trimboli's plans to open a small bar as part of a larger complex right across from the Brass Monkey, so Trimboli said 'screw you we're taking our development money to another city' in an open letter to the West. So now the entire project is shit-canned becuase the Cop doesnt want another bar? What about the rest of the development? It was only a tiny fraction of the plan but the community misses out on ALL of it becuase of one dickhead!

Point is that for as eager as people are to move Perth forwards, it will ALWAYS... ALWAYS be held back by self-interested little people in unelected positions of pointless power, serving their own self-inflated egos and self-serving interests.

Jesus, development plans needing an OK from the Cop before proceeding? F****** PLEASE what is going on?

I guess I should remember Perth is not a city. It is a medium sized country town in a mining and farming state and has ZERO competition or alternatives. So of course progress gets blocked by a single pompous UNELECTED (am I making this really clear here? NO-ONE voted for this prick to have this power - democracy anyone?) single individual instead of a council or a corporate body or even controversially - the CITIZENS THEMSELVES.

Wait... we're not citizens we're SUBJECTS, right! Forgot for a minute.

WA is a retirement state for people who make their money in mining to retire and enjoy the 'peaceful' life, and Perth is 'the big smoke' where farmers send their kids to get an education. Anyone elses interests will only be met through generational change when the old dickheads are dead and out of office. Only pray they arent replaced by their own children, who have been raised to perpetuate the problem.

The EPRA has ruined Northbridge. Too many empty stores is just a fancy facade on urban decay caused by insane rents and power-broker cops. Face it. The real 'power' behind progress - the people with the VISION - are being screwed by the pompous little-big people that have been placed in a position of veto over decisions about development.

Who the F*** thought it was a good idea to let the COPS decide who can open a bar?

Anyone wonder what their decision might be....?

Anyone?

N. said...

Irish, thanks. Yes, I agree that EPRA is not doing a great job. The rents are too high, retailers are struggling, and the momentum has been lost. Huge lost opportunity, I could rant on about it for days.... the empty shops are an absolute disaster.

I also agree about the whole liquor situation.

Anonymous said...

hey i was just wondering if you ever did get to find all the abandoned cinemas, there actually are loads, and most are still kinda there like the city greater union one but she asian chick is now there selling ball dresses anyways i bet some wicked photos from all of them, would love that post! ohh and all the rest of them are damn awesome tooo :)

Glenn said...

Yeah to the abandoned cinema idea. Count me in.
Trying to think what is where now -
of course there is the hoyts twins on hay street mall, the complex on the corner of murray street and barrack street, with the also abandoned bar underneath.......
count me in count me in count me in.

Flatshare said...

It looks scary like full of mystery.The ambiance is not good.I think it should be change or renovated.I dont know why it has survive and still has its costumer when the place looks old and hunted.

Anonymous said...

Hey irish....you're a knob end! Regards The Real Irish!!

Anonymous said...

i have no faith in people after having read some of these comments. be positive and take the good with the bad.

Anonymous said...

im also amazed there is approval, who let this comment through-

"the way i see it, northbridge is full of fucken Asian overseas whores! go back to your own country"

- I'm aware that attitude is nothing new in Perth but I really think it should be deleted. i feel sick and am scared to read more

N. said...

Anon - I don't censor comments on this site. In my opinion, that would be worse than what some people choose to say when commenting. Don't worry, this site is extremely Asian-friendly!

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree censoring would be worse, so I'm wondering why there is an approval process thing in the first place.....I don't know maybe that's something that goes with the site. Just dont understand why there has to be approval, then for someone to approve that comment...maybe turn the approval button off (I am totally ignorant on blogs,is there even an approval button?)

I guess I'm super sick of that white Australian attitude. Also, im super sensitive so that comment has totally ruined my day. I'm not in Perth atm, and really don't want to go back to the country after that comment.

Anyway N. you seem to be doing a good job, you're right censoring is stupid. keep fighting the good fight!

Anonymous said...

sorry, just completely read the thing above the comment box. don't worry about justifying the approval thing. i get it.

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