Would you buy this ‘haunted’ WA former brothel and cafe?

Ghost stories have been a regular theme in the Jack Sue Building’s history.
Ghost stories have been a regular theme in the Jack Sue Building’s history.

It might be short on paint, but what this historic Midland property lacks in gloss, it more than makes up for with a century of stories.

A retail landmark in this part of suburban Perth, ‘The Jack Sue’ building has tales dating back to the early 20th century, including reports of paranormal sightings.

Over the years it first first traded as The Loco Coffee Palace, which served as a stopover and accommodation for passengers of the Midland Railway.

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It also spent time as a brothel and a Chinese restaurant before the late Jack Sue – a former WWII Commando – bought it in 1984 to expand his skin diving business. Sue wrote two of his books – war memoir Blood on Borneo and Ghost of the Alkimos – in the building.

But it’s the ghost stories that have captivated locals and visitors in recent times, with numerous claims that the property is haunted.

A 2014 article in local newspaper explored the alleged ghost sightings, which reportedly involved “orbs” that floated throughout the building.

But despite psychics and ghost hunters investigating the site over the years, Sue’s son Barry said nothing had been proven.

Ghosts aside, it’s the property’s potential that will most intrigue buyers, agents say.

While the building is considered historically significant and its facade is listed on the Municipal Heritage Inventory, Ray White Commercial agent Ashley Gibbs says it is prime for a small development.

Jack Sue Midland

The Jack Sue building is claimed to be haunted.

“Curtin University is soon to open across the road, Centrepoint Midland shopping centre is diagonally opposite and the new Midland Hospital is 500 metres away,” he says.

“Development is authorised to go four levels high, as long as the facade is retained. At that height, there are great views of Midland to the west and The Hills to the east, and it’s a nine-minute drive to Perth Airport.”

Gibbs says the building remains an integral part of Midland’s history.

“It dates back to the earliest days of the Midland Railway Workshops, which was once the state’s biggest employer.

The Jack Sue Building is considered ripe for a retail and accommodation redevelopment.

“Branded The Loco Coffee Palace, it is believed the building served as a cafe as well as accommodation for rail passengers in transit.”

While the property has been vacant and used for storage for some time, Gibbs says elements of its former life have lingered.

“Even after being closed and vacated, tables, chairs, bowls and chopsticks, woks and pots remained in the building — even the dumbwaiter still worked,” he says,

The property is also available for least at $95,000 per annum, plus outgoings.