Peel Street used to be a typical, grungy, off-Hindley laneway but big plans are underway to ‘activate’ Peel Street.
This activation is happening thanks to the vision of property owner George Ginos of the Ginos Group, who owns Leigh Street and has acquired property on Peel Street, and a couple of hospitality entrepreneurs and seasoned property developers to realise the street’s potential and position it as the city’s next hotspot. Peel Street’s eclectic mix of heritage buildings and other less aesthetic 70s architecture gives the laneway an inner-city feel and is part of the attraction. “We think it’s thoroughly urban. It’s almost its own little city within a city,” says Crispian Fielke, one of the owners of Clever Little Tailor, the first of the new wave of businesses to open on the street. Fielke and co-owners Josh Baker and Dana Whyte felt Peel Street was the ideal location for their bar venture. “The laneway feel is very alive here. Given there are still some cars rolling down the street and there is a mixture of workers, young folk and weekend folk. It has its own community,” Fielke explains. Clever Little Tailor has been an instant hit since opening its doors a couple of weeks ago. It’s a small bar (fits about 70 people) but the building, which used to be the loading dock for Fletcher Jones, has high ceilings with exposed beams creating a sense of space. The bar focuses on quality liquor served in an intimate setting. “We are trying not to theme or pigeonhole it. We want to show off good liquor. People can expect a really nice fit out and a service-driven mindset,” Fielke says. While there seems to be a laneway culture developing in Adelaide Fielke believes it’s about “tapping into space”. “I don’t think the laneway trend is something that is driven necessarily by fashion but rather good use of space, clever use of space.” The laneway popularity coincides with changes to small bar licensing earlier this year. Ross Stanley’s Chihuahua on Peel Street will be the first bar to benefit from these changes. The South American inspired bar is set to open in July after Stanley’s reconnaissance mission to South America to source boutique products and decor. “All the businesses on the street are offering a boutique product. They have a bit of a story and personality behind them,” Stanley says. The location appealed to Stanley because of the proximity to Leigh Street and the fact that Peel Street was “creating a bit of a precinct within a precinct”. Also opening in the next three to four months is Peel St, the latest offering from the team behind Goolwa’s Aquacaf – Jordan Theodoros, Ben McLeod and Martin Corcoran. Peel St will offer what Theodoros describes as “really simple fresh food with a focus on Middle Eastern flavours”. “It will be a casual dining experience that brings the relaxed Aquacaf feel to the city,” Theodoros says. “We wanted to place ourselves in an area that’s growing and be surrounded by like minded people. It will be nice to be back in the city.” It’s not just hospitality businesses that are taking advantage of the laneway vibe, coworking giant Hub Adelaide is set to open in September on the first floor of the Fletcher Jones building on the corner of Peel Street and Hindley Street. Part of Hub Australia (which is linked to the global Hub brand) Hub Adelaide joins the wave of co-working spaces popping up around Adelaide – The Mill, Majoran Distillery, Co-West and That Space. The changing face of Peel Street is not without consequences. Art collective Format, who occupied their space on Peel Street since 2010, had no choice but to vacate because of increased rents. Stan Mahoney, Managing Director of Format says: “The rejuvenation of the Peel Street precinct is well over due. It’s just a shame that artist run community based groups are not part of the vision for the street. We’ve had a lot of support and we are confident that Format will continue in the CBD.” Also readying for completion is Peel Chambers a mixed-use building being promoted by Peter Buchan (Buchan Lee Property Group). The 1897 building has been revitalised and offers shells, which can be converted into either an apartment or office space. Buchan says: “Bringing people to live here is also important and that’s what we do. It’s one thing to have people visiting the street and then going back to the suburbs but you need people living here.” With all this development underway Peel Street will look very different by the end of the year as it’s transformed into a vibrant strip of diverse businesses. The plans also include a knock through to join Peel Street and Leigh Street adding to the potential for further development and creating what looks to be the beginning of Adelaide’s laneway network.