Alain Fabregues is a culinary legend in Australia’s west.
Two years ago, Western Australia’s most lauded chef closed his famed fine diner, The Loose Box in Mundaring, after 34 years, and downsized to the more relaxed Bistro des Artistes in Subiaco.
And while Subiaco might be the Paris end of Perth, it’s not Paris, a point the 66-year-old has made on the window of his bistro after his landlord, Lepley Property, announced it was increasing the bistro’s rent by $70,000 to $279,000 a year.
Even by Perth’s over-heated property standards, that’s a huge, one-third increase, that comes, as Perth Now points out, at a time when rents are falling and shops are empty around Subiaco.
Real Estate Institute of WA president David Airey described the increase as “quite extraordinary” saying reduced demand in Subiaco had kept rents flat for a long time.
“A lot of property owners have been forced to reduce rents to meet market conditions,” Airey told Perth Now.
It prices his little bistro at $1000 a square metre.
Fabregues, who has been knighted twice by the French Government for his services to professional cookery, says that with two years to go on his five-year lease, he’ll just have to cop it, because it’s not worth the money for a court fight, but won’t go quietly, putting the details of his rent increase on the front windows of his bistro:
My landlord Lepley Property is increasing our rent by $70,000 to $279,000 p.a.
$1160 rent per day!! Subiaco is not Paris or London. $1000 per square meter.
— Frank Walsh (@frank_walsh) January 2, 2015
After his plight was highlighted, Fabregues took to Facebook to say thanks to his supporters, saying “We are deeply touched by the unbelievable amount of support from everyone in Perth. We appreciate the love everyone has for Subiaco, please keep it alive with support for small businesses like ours.”
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