I don’t think I’ve seen so many Fitzroy hospitality and retail businesses for sale, or vacant properties for lease, at the same time. These are all in addition to ones I’ve already written about, such as the former Oven pizza, the former convenience store next door, the bike shop and the former Django Django cafe.
On Brunswick St, Polly bar on Brunswick St is currently available. The northern end of Brunswick St is looking shaky – is it a good time to get out? At the opposite end Martha Ray’s cafe is currently listed for sale. Cape Live on the corner of Brunswick and Johnston streets is available. Opposite, the former Kleen, currently Urban Attitude is closing and the property is already listed.
On Smith St, the Panama Dining Room sold recently. The former Soul food (and briefly Hex) cafe is listed. Dr Java cafe on the corner of Smith and Gertrude streets was listed recently. They’ve just had a significant interior facelift. After an aborted closure a few years ago Amor y locura on the western end of Gertrude St is closing for real.
On Johnston St, the Johnston St Food Store was also listed not long ago. No surprise there – Addict will surely wipe it out. The Marquis of Lorne pub has just sold and in the last few days I’ve seen people inside cleaning out the front bar. In North Fitzroy the struggling North Fitzroy Arms is for sale and so is the lovely Monkey Bar.
Amidst all these current business closures and the availability of a lot of property, it could be easy to overlook another phenomenon. Fitzroy is a former industrial area undergoing gentrification but there is still a lot of real industry going on here using a lot of property.
As these businesses gradually leave more property becomes available for hospitality and retail that has not been used for this purpose before, such as the premises of the former Lure hairdresser on Smith St.
The west end of Gertrude St is slowly being gentrified, such as by Catfish and Casa Ciuccio, but the west end of Johnston St has yet to be approached in the same way. The former Chan and Chan Trading Co building on Johnston St could be made into something fabulous, but is the location too risky?