The WA Government is investing $7 million into revamping the Yagan Square precinct.
The package is an initiative to bring people and businesses back into the area after many venues closed during the pandemic.
The Shoe Bar and Café barista Mason Burges says there’s been a lot of up and downs since the venue opened four years ago.
“We were pumping for the first two years, then we went really quiet,” Mr Burges says.
“We were making under 30 per cent of what we would usually make.”
Mr Burges says since the AFL resumed, they are slowly starting to see more people in the area. However, it isn’t back to normal.
“With the mask mandate more people are being encouraged to work from home.
“We’re losing a lot of people in the area because of this and it’s going to take a while for this to change.”
Under the grant, award-winning hospitality operator Nokturnl will revitalise Market Hall within Yagan Square and create local job opportunities for new businesses.
A $4 million event grants program will also be used, encouraging small businesses to run events such as live performances, markets and food events.
Yagan Square was unveiled to the public in 2018 after a $73.4 million redevelopment.
The aim was to show tourists the Perth lifestyle, however the area is now almost deserted, with people only using it to pass through to and from public transport.
Residents and CBD workers say the investment is much-needed.
“This isn’t a place you want kids to be,” resident Matt Stevens says.
“It’s gotten worse and worse over time. It’s a bad area.”
CBD worker Lucinda Suleski agrees, saying she doesn’t feel comfortable being there at night.
“People come from clubs and the level of intoxication is overwhelming,” she says.
“I don’t like going after 5pm. I get scared because it’s mainly filled with the wrong types of people.”
The grants will be available from the beginning of July, with businesses eligible to apply next month.