By Lauren Hermon
Removing “hundreds of years of old wiring and plumbing” may seem like a big job but, for Alison Sloley and Adam Freeman, it’s all part of their ‘Port revival’ plan.
The Taperoo couple is revamping what has been described as Port Adelaide’s oldest building, the Port Admiral Hotel, to make way for new operators.
And on their mission to breathe new life into the historic suburb, the co-owners plan to ‘break tradition’.
“With Port Adelaide having more than 30 hotels, I think it’s time for something a bit different,” Alison says.
“We’re ready for Port Admiral Hotel to move into the 21st Century. This will not be as a traditional hotel, but as a prominent building hosting a mixture of businesses,” she adds.
Alison and Adam plan to work with innovative entrepreneurs ready to turn Port Adelaide into a ‘vibrant food hub’, dividing the hotel into three retail premises downstairs and bed and breakfast-style apartments upstairs.
However, before the grand reveal must come the hard work.
“We’re replacing and repairing everything and starting with a clean slate,” Alison says.
With the building located on Port Adelaide’s main corner, there is potential for much vibrancy.
“Whether small takeaway shops spilling out onto Commercial Road, a really great wine and beer bar, or outdoor street dining under the veranda, the business opportunities in are abundant,” she says.
No stranger to business success, Alison and Adam previously owned Roma’s on the corner of Hutt and Halifax streets, a grocery shop and café on Melbourne Street and, after 10 years, recently sold Semaphore Garden Shop.
Working with State government, the Port Adelaide Enfield Council is funding a street upgrade for the northside of Commercial Road.
This will include extending the street pavement an additional three metres for added street dining, including the building of 60 Quest apartments.
With these major developments and many more, Alison believes a greater number of small businesses will ‘move in’ during the next year.
But, despite removing “hundreds of years of old wiring and plumbing”, memories of the past can never be erased.
“It’s all about history in Port Adelaide and that cannot be undone, despite many of the buildings now being restored. There are some amazing people with so much energy who are creating a type of vibrancy down here that is brilliant,” she says.
“The Port Admiral Hotel deserves to be re-born into a wonderful vibrant hub of the historic town of Port Adelaide.
“If people are willing to have a go, then there are many wonderful things that can happen here.”