Waiting to dock
The glacial progress on the Chaffers Dock complex looks like it's finally getting somewhere, with the first signs of retail outlets preparing to open. When I last reported on progress back in November, the public opening of the piazza was expected "after Christmas, in time for a busy summer". The latest waterfront newsletter (perhaps wisely) doesn't give any new completion dates, but a couple of tenancies now look very close to opening.
Unfortunately, the one that looks nearest to completion is the one I've been looking forward to the least: a Subway outlet. I guess you could say that at least it's cheap and family-friendly, unlike some other recent waterfront openings, but surely there were better options that that? Even the bright shade of yellow that they've painted the interior beams detracts from the crisp cool blues of the building itself.
Next door to that is a business that sounds a bit more inviting: The Port Café. This wasn't mentioned by name in November's newsletter, though there was mention of a "waterfront-facing gourmet seafood restaurant". While the notice refers to it as "a new era in seafood", the mention of BYO and takeaway options hint that it might not be so upmarket. Not that I'm complaining: a casual BYO restaurant is just what the waterfront is missing, and we've gone far too long without a fish 'n' chip shop beside the water. I just hope that they take more care with their cooking than they do with their spelling.
The upmarket dining component of the Chaffers Dock complex should be provided by a restaurant called Home. All the indicators are that it should be something special: a location on the sunny northwest corner of the Art Deco building, a fitout by Allistar Cox, and an experienced team of operators. Unfortunately, there seems to have been virtually no progress in the last few months, leading me to wonder whether they're planning to wait out the winter and open when the weather will bring more people to the water.
The park-side tenancies seem to be making more progress, with some interesting curved walls in one of them. The atrium between the old and new buildings is looking to be a fantastic space, with plenty of light and some exciting architectural touches, though strangely it appears to be being advertised for lease as a supermarket. There are also finally some signs that the waterside promenade is about to be re-sealed, after a much longer closure than anyone expected. I guess no-one can accuse the developers of a quick rush job, but all this waiting is getting frustrating.