AN APP which marries small business owners with cheap unused premises will help transform Bayswater into a ‘Smart City’, says Future Bayswater chair Paul Shanahan.
Developed by Perth’s Alina Racu, The Local Tribe has been dubbed “Airbnb for industrial spaces”, and helps landlords find short-term tenants for properties that would otherwise lie empty.
Ms Racu is collaborating with council and community group Future Bayswater, who think the concept can help reinvigorate the moribund industrial area around Bayswater town centre and play an important role in activating the eastern economic corridor.
“Because of a downturn in the market there are many offices, industrial, or warehouse spaces that haven’t been in use for a long time,” Ms Racu told the Voice.
“My point is if you repurpose, re-boost, reuse some of these spaces in your community, then you’ll have more flux…it’s an opportunity for creating more jobs and getting inspired.
“So it’s changing the mindset of property owners: you can rent this in a short term contract and you can add these multi-purpose spaces.
“Once you have occupancy in those spaces, you will have people that will try open a new coffee shop, they will open restaurants, all this activity will help the local community.”
Ms Racu says budding entrepreneurs are nervous about signing long-term leases and she is aiming to provide lower-risk access to offices and workshops.
She is planning to pilot The Local Tribe in Bayswater and eventually do a roll out across Perth.
The app will initially be web based, with plans to release a phone version at a later date.
“If you look on social media, we are tending very much to use this component of creating different groups, which I like to call ‘tribes’, because everyone wants to create community and share the same interest with people,” Ms Racu says.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM