Adelaide: Australia’s foodie destination

January 16, 2018 / By  

While most cities in Australia aspire to be a ‘foodie’ destination, a rare few can really claim the title. Arguably, the city of Adelaide in South Australia sits atop the nation’s gastronomical leader board, aided by a bounty of locally grown produce and blessed with one of the most iconic wine regions in the world.

This reputation for quality produce has long been an economic boon for South Australia for exporters, but an ongoing love affair from locals for Adelaide’s growing restaurant scene is increasingly becoming a factor in shaping the city’s future.

Since the successful laneway activation of Peel and Leigh Streets in 2014, the hunt by hospitality groups for under-utilised space throughout the city’s laneway network has been fierce. According to the latest Adelaide City Census of Land Use and Employment (ACCLUE), the fastest growing sector between 2014 and 2016 was accommodation and food services (+112 establishments).

Master plan to rejuvenate Adelaide’s nightlife

On the back of this sector’s growth, the Adelaide City Council launched the ‘Laneway Master Plan’ in 2016 – a refurbishment programme of the laneway network running from Riverbank Precinct along North Terrace, through to the Adelaide Central Market in the middle of the city.

This new hospitality and retail spine from Bank Street through Peel Street, Leigh Street, Topham Mall, Bentham Street and Pitt Street will become a new focus point for Adelaide’s nighttime economy with vendors expected to capitalise on the current retail spending environment.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, annualised retail spending growth in the cafés, restaurants and catering services category has been accelerating since the beginning of 2016 (figure 1). Year-on-year percentage growth has been in double-digit territory since August 2016 with the most recent annualised growth rate reaching 19.2 per cent, the highest recorded level since January 2009.

The anchor points for the laneway redevelopment project, the Riverbank Precinct along North Terrace, and Central Market to the south, are also both slated for major upgrades. Along North Terrace, Festival Plaza – the three-stage redevelopment of the Adelaide Convention Centre completed in August –   is already underway and an AUD 330 million expansion of the Adelaide Casino to incorporate a luxury hotel and ground floor restaurant and retail areas is scheduled to commence in early 2018.

Laneway Master Plan’s impact on commercial real estate

The most obvious benefit to the commercial property market is the positive impact on CBD retail vacancy, albeit in areas outside the city’s major retail destination, Rundle Mall. However, the multiplier effect of the Laneway Master Plan is the increased vibrancy and attractiveness of the city as a place to do business, a place to study and as a place to live.

This has been reflected by the increasing CBD residential population and international student numbers that have fuelled high density development in Adelaide recently. Irish comedian Dylan Moran once opened his Adelaide stand-up show with the joke, “I love visiting Adelaide because I’ve always wondered what it was like in 1955.” He’ll have to think of a different opener on his next tour.

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