Opinion | Showdown in the West End | Christopher Saunders

Big changes are afoot in Hunter Street’s west end.

The Store’s coming down and so is the iconic Cambridge hotel opposite. Is the west end the new frontier of Newcastle?

Is it time to round up a posse from Renew, like they did in the mall? There are still many empty buildings this end of Hunter Street – wasted opportunities – and, as was shown down the other end, property owners can be big winners when creative people are given opportunities.

For some time the west end has been in decline. Venture down these streets on foot and you might trip over a tumbleweed.

The austere PKF fortress that replaced the iconic Mark Richards “foundry” has an impenetrable façade that sends a clear message - KEEP OUT.

But things are looking up.

Quest apartments in the former museum recently opened its doors. This means more people and with them more demand for creative activity.

Bao Brothers are at 701 Hunter. Jake the Barber 20 paces across the street.

Wez Werrin in the old glass factory a stone’s throw away (should one throw stones at a glass factory?) has hosted numerous artists and provided a venue for many a creative event. It was here I had my first taste of the Bao Brothers offerings.

The vision is to build a creative village using shipping containers at the rear of the property, complete with small bar and eateries.

For the moment Wez is doing a good trade in coffee from his hole in the wall café. Soon there could be all manner of creative shenanigans inside.

Next door, Catapult Dance Studios is pulsing to various beats and is a hive of creative activity.

This week, Stooged Theatre is performing its latest theatrical offering here – quite literally a show down in the west end.

Giddyup!

Christopher Saunders is the general manager of Renew Newcastle

MUSIC, THEATRE: Emily Daly, who is in the production of Love and Information being staged at Catapult Dance Studios. Picture by Phillip Ross, from Hunter & King

MUSIC, THEATRE: Emily Daly, who is in the production of Love and Information being staged at Catapult Dance Studios. Picture by Phillip Ross, from Hunter & King

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