City News

Old drag gets new frock

Oxford Street to get face-lift Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By Fernanda Tiburcio

Oxford Street, for the last years, has lost a lot of the gleam and splendour it once possessed.

In the intervening period of time, Oxford Street is still one of the most visited locations in Sydney.

The only thing it needs is some love and time. It is essential to improve and invest into Oxford Street to revive it and make it as once was.

Not all is lost. For some time now, the street has been achieving some renovations.

The City of Sydney owns a large value of property on the North side of Oxford Street.

According to City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster, Clover Moore has failed towards the recreation of the street.

“Clover Moore’s failure to implement any overarching strategy for the assets has left many of them empty and rundown, and meant the street’s economic viability has been in a steady downturn,” Councillor Christine Forster said.

“The Lord Mayor’s answer has been to pretend Council’s Oxford Street buildings are a ‘creative hub’ and to lease the shopfronts out at peppercorn rents to pop-up retailers.”

“Meanwhile, parts of the properties’ upper floors have been left to fall into such disrepair that they are empty or uninhabitable.”

According to Cr Forster in July 2017, Council had finally endorse an expression of interest towards Oxford Street properties on a long-term ground lease and investment, something Forster has been trying to advocate since 2012.

Stephan Gyory, owner of the Record Store and head of the Darlinghurst Business Partnership, says Oxford Street is a place where people should definitely visit and consider going.

However, any recovery is likely to be hampered by the continuation of the lockout laws.

“As long as the lockouts unfairly target this suburb, it is a tough stretch. They are anti-competitive and they have scared people away,” Stephan Gyory said.

Some tenants were reported to be unhappy the way the City of Sydney approached the tenders, including Wayne Nicole, owner of Sax Fetish.

The City of Sydney has shown City Hub proof that Sax Fetish did receive notification that the tender process was to begin.

“The expression of interest opened on 30 May 2018 and will take around 12 months to complete. The planning, consultation and development stages following this are expected to take several years,” City of Sydney Council Christine Forster said.

The street has been improving by Council efforts to renovate and rebuild empty spaces and damaged areas.

“Council is putting their buildings out to tender for re-development,” said Stephan Gyory.

“All we need is customers, there are so many great shops and bars and restaurants,” said Stephan Gyory.

Many of the buildings are now flourishing, featuring bright coloured lights. Oxford Street is being resurrected.