The iconic T2 Building at Taylor Square looks set to become a bike hub, despite the City of Sydney Council calling for expressions of interest (EOI) from prospective tenants interested in various uses for the site.
The Council-owned building – located in the heart of Darlinghurst –is subject to EOI until 5pm Friday, May 10, with a City of Sydney media statement last week suggesting a range of possible uses including community workshops, a museum, a new café and bike-related businesses.
However, the statement included extensive comments from Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, all of which pertained to the premises being used as a bike hub with an attached café for cyclists.
Liberal Councillor Christine Forster said she believed all other uses for the site had been excluded.
“I fought for the inclusion of a museum in the call for EOI from potential occupants of the building, but the City of Sydney’s document outlining the proposed principle functions was so heavily skewed towards bike retailing, culture and history that in practical terms any alternative use appears to have been excluded,” said Ms Forster.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has withdrawn its plans for a Mardi Gras Museum in the T2 Building, with Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik issuing a joint statement with the Lord Mayor, saying Mardi Gras now wished to continue its museum in its current shopfront space on the corner of Oxford and Palmer Streets.
“We looked carefully at the idea of using the former T2 building but realised that our current space on Oxford St was a better option for our future needs and within our capabilities,” said Mr Rolik.
However, a source within Mardi Gras had a different take, telling City News: “[Mardi Gras] relies on City of Sydney funding every two years, so we pretty much have to do what they want. If they want a bike hub, we’re not in a position to rock the boat.”
Greens Councillor Irene Doutney also expressed disappointment in Mardi Gras’ about-face, saying she felt T2 was the “ideal” place for a Mardi Gras or LGBTI museum.
“If Mardi Gras is no longer in a position to use the space, a bike hub seems inevitable,” she added.
Living Sydney Councillor Angela Vithoulkas said she believed a bike hub was a foregone conclusion.
“It’s clear that’s always been the Lord Mayor’s agenda,” she said. “We’re going to get bike hub with a café.”
Ms Vithoulkas claimed Ms Moore has “gone in hard on a temporary rainbow crossing, which was always going to be removed, when she should have been focusing on something permanent and lasting for the [LGBTI] community”.
Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich said he wanted to see “something permanent” for the LGBTI community at Taylor Square such as a flag or museum “but a bike hub would also be good for the community”.
“Having a bike hub would bring many extra people into the heart of Sydney’s gay community and stimulate local business,” he said.