By Edmund Kirkwood
The City of Sydney insists the new $25 million creative arts hub development will be kept affordable for artists to live and work in.
A City spokesperson said overheads will be kept low to pass on to the hub’s users. The council will not employ staff, removing employment costs.
“We can provide permanent office space on each floor to a non-profit cultural organisation, which will in turn be expected to run the bookings for the creative spaces on their floor,” the spokesperson said.
“Such a system reduces overall costs.
“The project is designed to make affordable space available to artists and creative teams so they can experiment, practice and develop their ideas.
“The availability of affordable workspace is a pre-condition of innovation and industry growth and this will in turn support sustainable job growth in the creative industries.”
The City denied non-artistic sectors were losing out on investment. The council has worked on a number of projects and initiatives to help address the needs of a diverse range of business sectors, the spokesperson said.
“In late 2013, council adopted an Economic Development Strategy, which includes a series of actions to support businesses.
“Retail and tourism action plans were adopted in December 2013 and action plans focused on international education, local economies, entrepreneurs and start-ups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander economic development are underway.”
Sydney Business Chamber executive director Patricia Forsythe said there is a place for all sectors of the economy.
“Creative industries was indeed one of the pillars of City of Sydney’s 2030 plan and it is wonderful to see that plan coming to fruition,” Ms Forsythe said.
The spokesperson said the creative hub “is focused on supporting creative businesses and follows on from actions in the City’s draft cultural policy which was unanimously endorsed by council last month.”
Most business leaders have praised the initiative and are optimistic for its potential.
“This is a great thing for Sydney’s economy and for Sydney’s growing service economy,” Ms Forsythe said.
“Cities benefit when economic hubs such as these are created, and we are seeing Sydney turning into a great economic hub itself.”