Say Goodbye to: The Emporium / by Kian West

It is bittersweet to hear the news that The Emporium that has filled the old David Jones building is now leaving to make way for a commercial development.

The contribution of The Emporium to Newcastle’s redevelopment has been long and fruitful. It’s time now for it to bow gracefully from its role in the city’s revitalisation to make way for new development.

This week Renew Newcastle received notice from the building owners, Iris Capital, to vacate the former David Jones building. As per the Renew Newcastle Property License Agreement, tenants will vacate the building within 30 days.

General Manager, Christopher Saunders said “Renew’s role in property activation has always been as ‘custodians’ bringing life and activity to otherwise empty spaces, until either party wish to exit the agreement”.

The Emporium has been our flagship retail space since 2012 and its participants have created an iconic tourist destination that has been a major player in the cultural change bringing Newcastle to life.”

“Attracting interest in the city from developers is part of our overall renewal plan. The Emporium is a clear example of how Renew Newcastle’s temporary activation increases the potential of a property,” Saunders said.

The Emporium has enabled 39 creative businesses to blossom, 22 of them progressing into ongoing business ventures. Five have taken on commercial leases in the city. Over 40 exhibitions have been held in the gallery spaces. 1000’s of customers have visited creating an enormous amount of goodwill among the community by keeping this building activated.

Renew participants continue to operate in 27 underutilised office and studio spaces in the city. Renew Newcastle now also has a presence in Hamilton at the Clock Tower Studios a temporary home for seven photographers. The participants in Clock Tower studios are welcoming the public to an exciting event on June 2nd showcasing a range of work and introducing themselves to Beaumont Street businesses and Hamilton residents.

“We are constantly looking for additional property owners who see the benefits of housing temporary businesses. In 2015 the Emporium became the only retail space available to us from among our current property partners”, said Christopher.

The creative businesses from within The Emporium have been encouraged to take the opportunities a simultaneous exit offers. Seeking to take on a commercial lease and create a collaborative maker or retail space in a new location is an option they may explore.

Saunders is unaware of the immediate future plans for the former David Jones building, but considers “Renew’s role in the building’s history to have been very significant”.

“We look forward to continuing with this success in other underutilised spaces,” he said.

You can say goodbye at their party June 15th - Last day of trade June 17th.