Shops that pass in the night 12
The stretch of upper Cuba St shops being redeveloped as part of The Wellington apartment and hotel complex is now almost completely tenanted. As I noted a couple of months ago, Eyeball Kicks and the superette have already moved in, and Mojo coffee and Caffé Italiano are both supposed to be on the way. There's already a florist taking temporary residence in one of the units, but they'll soon move next door to make way for Mojo. A larger tenancy towards the southern end may still be unleased, but the last of the small tenancies is about to become the new home of Madame Fancy Pants when it opens this Friday.
So: a jeweller, a florist, a tiki/hot rod gallery, a couple of cafés and a dairy: is this the gentrification that some of us had worried would follow the redevelopment? Some of these are certainly a little more upmarket than their predecessors, but with the possible exception of Caffé Italiano none of them are national or global chains. It's not all tattoo parlours and anarchist bookshops, but it's an interesting cross-section of local businesses and far from inappropriate for Cuba St.
Interestingly, just up the road from here is an example of reverse gentrification (plebification? Bohofication?). Belle Vie was always a pleasant enough shop, but it seemed strangely out of place: dainty homeware and exquisitely catered designer weddings never struck me as being uppermost in the mind of patrons of the nearby Spacesuit clothing or San Francisco Bathhouse. After they moved to a new location in Willis St, the old shop was empty for a while, but as I wrote over on that other site, it's now ALC HQ. Clothes for skaties, punks and emos: now that's much more Cuba!
The old Eyeball Kicks site in Ghuznee St was empty for a little while as well, but it's just re-opened as Sweet vintage clothing. It would be even sweeter if they had some menswear, but I guess men hang onto their clothes until they fall apart. And the shop vacated by Madam Fancy Pants at the top of Plimmer Steps is about to become another jewellery boutique, this time one that's moving in from Eastbourne. No word yet on what will become of the space that housed Modern Love before the opening of their new Left Bank shop, but it raises the question: is the top of Plimmer Steps now the place to watch for up-and-coming new shops?