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Brian Buckley (left) and David Templeman say Picabar will undergo renovations as a result of the new agreement

Picabar signs five-year lease

The owners of Northbridge’s Picabar have signed a five-year lease agreement with the Perth Theatre Trust (PTT), Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman announced this morning, bringing to an end a year of uncertainty for the venue.

The future of the venue, which had been operating on a month-to-month basis since its six-month lease had expired in 2012, had been in doubt after management of the precinct was transferred from the state government to the PTT in October last year.

Terminating the owner’s lease as a result, PTT general manager Duncan Ord said at the time the process was standard given the transfer of management.

Mr Templeman had intervened in November though to ensure owners Melissa Bowen, Brian Buckley and Conor Buckley were given first preference for negotiations.

That followed public outcry that culminated in the ‘Save Picabar’ petition, which attracted more than 10,000 signatures via change.org.

The new lease agreement means Picabar will remain at its current location until 2024, with an option to extend its lease for a further five years.

Mr Brian Buckley offered his thanks to the minister as well as to the patrons who voiced their support for the bar, saying he was over the moon to see the bar’s future secured.

“As we’ve said all along, all we want to do is be a part of this precinct and hopefully be a nice addition to it,” he said.

As part of the lease, Messrs Buckley and Templeman said the building itself would undergo renovations, with significant overhauls of the bathrooms, bar and kitchen facilities as well as additional alfresco space.

While Mr Buckley could not disclose how much these renovations were expected to cost, he said he was hopeful development would begin over Christmas with completion before next winter.

“As for how it’s run, it’s going to be much the same in terms of operations, it’s just the offering will be broader than beer and wine,” he said.

Picabar’s new lease agreement comes as the state government looks to reactivate the Perth Cultural Centre, with WA Museum set to reopen in 2020 and major renovations planned for the Art Gallery of WA.

In remarks to the media, Mr Templeman acknowledged public support for the bar and said he looked forward to the role the venue would play in reactivating the Perth Cultural Centre.

“The Perth Cultural Centre is being transformed as our new museum reaches practical completion at the end of this year and will open next year,” he said.

“Part of the reactivation and bringing this whole precinct alive is a commercial, restaurant, cafe and bar elements of this centre.”

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