Space People!

As you will have read/ heard/ seen; there is a vacancy pandemic threatening our city centres, and closer to home, the recent eviction of some iconic institutions on Beaufort Street has highlighted the urgency of finding a solution to this problem. Since we started Spacemarket in 2013, we've talked at length about the nuances of commercial vacancy - but consistently - we come back to one glaring problem: Rent

It's no surprise—but the key hurdle for small, independent bizz is the unrealistic rental prices being set by landlords. When you drill down, the crux of this pricing issue is that rental charges determine land value figures and currently in Australia, it is of greater economic incentive to a land owner to let a property sit vacant than to offer a rental reduction. 

Perth MLA John Carey agrees that high-rental rates can be crippling: “The genuine feedback I’ve heard from small businesses is that the key issue isn’t parking, it’s not that the council hasn’t tried to revive the area, the feedback is there has been unrealistic expectations from property owners about rental returns,” he said.

“We need to have a conversation with property owners – the damage is done, and we’re seeing one vacant building after another.”

How do we combat this? How do we get through to the landlords? This week, small business commissioners from around Australia got together and discussed a ‘vacancy tax’—which is one approach to incentivising owners to fill up their buildings. An examination at the ever-increasing charges set by Councils (rates), Governments (Land Tax) and services (ie. Water corp annual service fees) should be another consideration at a higher level - as these costs are passed on to the tenant.

There is absolutely no denying that the market has changed; high-streets are lacking investment and experiencing vacancy at the expense of 'big box' shopping centres, plus, the effect of online shopping on bricks and mortar retailers has been enormous. However - what we are missing out on is a place for makers and tiny businesses to trade, we are missing out on the 'community' of a high-street, and we are ignoring the bigger picture of the economic contribution, and positive flow-on-effect, that a mass of small, independent business can bring. 

One positive, and much needed, step came yesterday in a statement from City of Vincent Mayor, Emma Cole, who announced a series of measures, one being the ‘Vacancy Project’, to address the now over 30 vacant properties sitting on the once buzzing strip: 

“We do know that vacancies and a lack of a diverse and unique mix of offerings on Beaufort Street can have a ripple on effect for surrounding businesses. Bricks and mortar independent businesses on high streets are what give our inner city town centres the creative edge over large scale shopping centres. The right mix needs to deliver both day and night time trade and be complementary.

The City of Vincent plans to tackle this issue head-on with a new Vacancy Project. We want to help bring that much-needed diversity to the strip, to attract people back and breathe new life into Beaufort Street. This is a critical issue that needs to be tackled.

For our Vacancy Project to have the greatest opportunity of success, we will be advocating strongly to landlords that they come on board and work with us. We need the support of landlords to fill their vacant shop fronts to rejuvenate the blank spaces. We want to start with curating an intersting mix of pop-ups and work together on finding longer-term, more permanent solutions to this central problem.”

While this won’t bring back Clarences, Cantina 663, Five Bar, or any of the incredible independent businesses that have been lost in the past couple of years, this decisive move by The City of Vincent should begin a much needed and frank discussion. Small and independent business are the very backbone of our communities and cities, and therefore we need to create an environment where they will flourish—via greater flexibility and ongoing support. And it needs to happen yesterday. 

Stay tuned, we’ve got much more to say on this subject and will be following the issue closely.

SM x


Clip Award 2019 Opening Night, Fri 31 May, 6pm-9pm

“Join us as we celebrate the best in contemporary landscape photography. The CLIP Awards is an internationally recognised prize for new perspectives in natural and urban landscape photography. This years final selection is relevant, honest and presents a critical urgency for viewers to reflect on and analyse how the human relationship coexists with the natural landscape in current time.”

Perth Centre for Photography, 357-365 Murray Street, Perth. Exhibition continues: 1 June - 29 June 2019


BC-AC Body Clock Atomic Clock launch, Ron Nyisztor, Fri 31 May, 6:30pm

“Ron Nysztor's new large scale paintings depict a series of still-life and abstract compositions that render a metaphysical view on time, light and space. Questioning the interface between our biological selves and the digital construct of the caesium clock. The global atomic clock network is comprehensively and digitally integrated into our lives; with an ever increasing hyper accuracy synchronising all aspects of contemporary life.”

PS Art Space, 22 Pakenham Street, Fremantle


Research to Reality Expo: Zero-Carbon Future, Wed 5 Jun, 10am-5pm

A free, whole-day event at Fremantle Town Hall—start the day with a tour of Fremantle’s newest low-carbon residential developments, followed by presentations and panels looking at the future of low-carbon living, latest industry outcomes and developments.

Register via the Facebook. Fremantle Town Hall, 8 William Street, Fremantle

2018 CLIP Award Winner— Krystle Ricci 'Blast Dust'


We’ll use this section to share some tidbits we’ve come across the last week from you, our tenants, and the www.

This illustrated history of New York City’s playgrounds is SO informative and so wonderful. Check it out here via City Lab.


Heathcote, Applecross
We have just one space left at Heathcote precinct. It’s a 60m2 space and perfect for a small-medium size creative business. Would suit a production company, architecture bizz, fashion studio etc.

MANY North Freo
We have two spaces available in our MANY North Freo warehouse (one 55sqm & one 35sqm). Rent includes three-phase power, rubbish collection, and water, AND you get to work amongst a super bunch of other local makers. Other benefits include high ceilings, great access and, a short walk over Leighton footbridge; you’re at the beach!

**Some new Freo spaces coming up soon! Please register your interest so we can keep you in the loop.

Email for more info.

Head over to our website for more info at

We’d always love to hear from you about any and all of the interesting things you’ve got going on.

Please send us an email at to let us know what’s up.