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School principal Richard Furbur and student Josh Hewson, 17, outside the old Wilkin's Imperial Coffee Palace building.

Coffee palace could serve lattes again

By Sally McGlew 

A WEST Australian Charity is seeking donations to help restore a significant building in the Midland CBD history.

Youth Futures purchased Wilkin’s Imperial Coffee Palace in 2019 and has been planning to restore the historic building to its original 1904 grandeur.

The building is located on Railway Parade in Midland.

Recently the building has been on the property of a small school, the Youth Futures Community School in Midland which opened in 2019.

The school has 100 students.

“The building has been a hub of great activity in the past,” City of Swan mayor, Kevin Bailey said.

“Unfortunately, the stress of two World Wars meant the building wasn’t maintained to its original grandeur.”

The building has deteriorated after two fires, had squatters, been vandalised and generally neglected.

It was sold to the charity which runs the school in 2019, after a fire destroyed much of the back part of the property.

Today the school is spaced across three blocks on the corner of Cale Street and Railway Parade, Midland with the Imperial Coffee Palace not used in its current form until it can be restored.

Principal Richard Furbur said the building was sold to the school with no certificate of occupancy and badly in need of restoration.

He said the alternative education school supported students with a wide range of assistance.

“We have mental health support, drug education, emergency food relief and alternative education for those disengaged from mainstream schooling,” he said.

Mr Furbur said the building could be used as a coffee house again once it was restored.

“It could certainly become part of the hospitality study certificates within the curriculum for the students in the future.”

Chief executive at Youth Futures Mark Waite said the building was important to be preserved for future generations so they could have something of cultural significance.

Unfortunately, the building is not state heritage listed so there is no government funding available to aid the restoration project.

“As such we’re reaching out to the local community to support our venture,” Mr Waite said.

“Once restored the building will be used commercially with the revenue going straight back into our not-for-profit supporting local young people.”

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