Image for Salamanca Arts Centre ... A Solution

The nub of the problem currently in the Salamanca arts centre, is a two-tiered lease structure.

There are some tenants within the building who enjoy the financial benefit of a commercial lease in some of the most valuable real estate in Tasmania and some who have a licence agreement. This licence agreement has no commercial value and places you at the whim of the Centre.

As evidenced by the current dilemma.

If one buys a stall at the market these days, the ‘business”changes hands for $20 to $30 thousand dollars ,whereas Mrs Martin and Mrs Wilkinson whose combined tenancy adds up to more than 60 years in the Arts Centre are meant to walk away with nothing. When the ownership of the Handmark Gallery, Aspect Design or Mr Wooby’s changed hands 5-10 years ago the previous tenant holders were reimbursed by the new ones, all tenants of The Salamanca Arts Centre.

Surely the solution to this problem is to draw-up leases on the alcove tenancies, and give them to the existing businesses on the condition that those leases are sold to tenants that meet the board’s criteria.

If the Centre has replacement tenants waiting in the wings for the spaces to become vacant, the board needs to engage in due diligence with respect to their tenancy.

If the motive of The Salamanca Arts Centre is to lease the spaces to “good businesses” (as Sean Kelly suggests), then those good businesses should abide by existing business practise and buy “the goodwill” that Mrs Martin and Mrs Wilkinson have created over the last 30 years.

Some points:

1. Do the new tenants have other outlets for their work? Pre-existing businesses in other parts of Hobart?

2. Have these prospective tenants been in partnership with other local designers?

3. If so , have these tenants had friendly relations with former partners ,employers and landlords?

4. Does what they plan to sell overlap or compete with existing businesses in the area?

5. If “criteria” is used as a method for displacing existing tenants, then the bona fides and business history of the new tenants must be closely scrutinised.

6. If “the criteria” is applied to renting spaces within the building, then why is the Long Gallery rented for conventions and wedding receptions.?Why is “The Venue” rented to people having birthday parties? As is currently the case.

7. Finally the criteria that the Salamanca Arts Centre applies to the 2 tenants within the building they are trying to evict must be applied to all tenancies. What is artistic about cafes, restaurants, secondhand books, The Faerie shop., wedding receptions and birthday parties? All of which the Arts Centre currently rents space to ... for significantly less than market value.

To provide some clarification of my position.

I am not for maintaining the status quo,and I would like to see more arts-related businesses in the alcoves, but the current tenants must be rewarded for the goodwill they have created over the last 3 decades, in much the same way as John and Christine Bowling were for Aspect Design, Pat Cleveland for Handmark and Henk Berg for “The Spinning Wheel”.

The building is leased to the Salamanca Arts centre by The State Government for a pepercorn rental, so to provide the kind of inequity in renting spaces that is currently happening is clearly against the charter of the state government.

I believe Mrs Martin and Mrs Wilkinson have a strong claim with respect to the discrimination that’s been applied to them. Surely it’s the governments resonsibility to intervene when its leaseholder exercises these “double standards” toward its tenants?

When the organisation running the building changed its name from The Community and Arts Centre Foundation to the Salamanca Arts Centre it seemed to take the community and the foundation out of its identity?