I’ve long been advocating a more enlightened approach to liquor licensing in NSW and particularly in my home town of Newcastle. I’m convinced (and convinced i can convince most people) that a more diverse culture (and i mean everything from punk venues to jazz clubs) of drinking, dining, music, art and entertainment is a missing catalyst for the rejuvenation of Newcastle’s CBD. It’s also a big part of the way out of the worst elements of Newcastle’s culture of violent dickheadiness that has been the subject of much debate lately.
Late last year, after years of lobbying and complaining the NSW government finally relented and introduced legislation that allows for smaller cultural bars and performance venues and not just poker machine stuffed binge barns. Both the Raise The Bar campaign and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore cited an episode of Not Quite Art in their campaign for a saner approach in NSW.
Now all this meant that I was pretty keen to get something happening. I immediately began doing some groundwork to see if i could put my money where my mouth has been with a plan to get such a place off the ground in Newcastle. After all, it’s not as though it would be hard to find venues with all the vacant real estate.
It turns out that maybe Newcastle is vacant because of the incompetent Real Estate industry?
Initially I contacted 13 separate Commercial Real Estate Agents in Newcastle via email seeking information about potential properties to lease. I gave them a price range (at the medium to high end of the asking price for most Newcastle commercial property), preferred but flexible locations, specific indications of what i was looking for and multiple contact details. I also indicated that i was willing to pay for some capital improvements and fly to Newcastle to inspect any properties that might be likely candidates. Given the incredibly dire state of the commercial property market in Newcastle, i even had some concerns that i might be a little run off my feet with phone calls.
I needn’t have worried.
It’s now 3 month later (and despite supplementing this with numerous enquiries about specific properties) and the total number of properties i have been encouraged to look at thus far is nil. The total number of phone calls received is nil. The total number of “thanks but we don’t have anything for you at the moment” emails is nil. Indeed, the total amount of communication from anyone in the Newcastle Real Estate industry is nil.
You know who you are CB Richard Ellis. Colliers Newcastle, Creer Property, Jones Lang LaSalle, Knight Frank, PRD Naitonwide, Street Real Estate, Ray White Commercial, Castle Realty, Dowling Real Estate, Realty Partners John Karmas, and Four Walls Commercial.
Meanwhile, if you are a frustrated property owner, maybe you could contact me directly and we can compare notes.
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