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The Kambitsis Group has been actively involved in the shaping of Adelaide’s West End precinct over the past decade and George Kambitsis has taken a lead role in working with the Adelaide City Council and Government of South Australia on the urban renewal and preservation of the area.
The sensitive restoration of one of Adelaide’s heritage icons, The Austral Stores Building (more commonly referred to as West’s Coffee Palace), produced the award winning ‘The Apothecary 1878’ wine bar and restaurant. As building owner, the Kambitsis Group not only worked closely with representatives of Heritage SA but also entered into partnership with two of Adelaide’s leading restaurateurs to operate the premises. This partnership spanning more than a decade continues to win recognition and praise from patrons, wine makers and food critics alike with recent prestigious awards such as Gourmet Travellers ‘Wine List of the Year 2011’ (SA State winner).
The West’s Cinema project saw the adaptive re-use of an historic building, in this case being a former art deco cinema in the Adelaide CBD. Purchased in 2000 and comprising approximately 3,500m² of built form, the property had been neglected by its former owners who had converted its use into a pinball parlour. The Kambitsis Group breathed new life into what has been described as “the best example of modern art deco in Australia” and the outcome of its adaptive reuse saw the building become the new home of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, within which is the acoustically superior Grainger Studio (the permanent rehearsal space for the orchestra) together with all administrative and marketing functions of the organisation. This move was a major boost towards the West End/ Hindley Street being considered as the premier arts precinct.
To the rear of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra property are the Frank Gehry inspired offices of KWP! Advertising and activating the street frontage to Hindley Street is the contemporary style of Tempo Restaurant. The development was awarded the Adelaide Prize in 2002 and was presented by the Adelaide City Council and the Australian Institute of Architects, to recognise and promote excellence and innovation in Adelaide.
The Kambitsis Group has previously supported Renew Adelaide, a non-profit urban renewal group, and its revitalisation of the West End precinct. The initiative included two Kambitsis Group properties being activated into small-scale creative projects including a reading room and fashion workshop and saw a positive step forward in the rejuvenation of Hindley Street.