By EMIKO REED
Residents have rallied with local politicians to seek an interim heritage order for the Alexandria Hotel, as it faces proposed demolition.
The heritage proposal, discussed at the Alexandria Residents’ Action Group public meeting on Wednesday 8, aims to have the pub’s historical industrial significance recognised by the City of Sydney and the NSW Government.
The building is one of Sydney’s few remaining hotels that maintains its original features, such as it’s U-shaped bar counter dating back back to the pre-war period.
During the meeting, the Action group’s co-convener Ben Aveling mentioned six other hotels in Sydney that were comparable to the Alexandria Hotel. Unlike the Alexandria Hotel, all six hotels are heritage listed, and he informed the meeting that “very few of them are as nice as the Alex”.
Greens MP for Newtown Jenny Leong was one of more than 100 locals who attended the meeting in favour of the conservation plan. She asserted her support, stating that the Heritage Minister Mark Speakman must recognise the site’s value.
“It’s critical that we recognise the hotel’s industrial heritage, but also the significance of the hotel in the recent days, its contribution to the community, its Sydney Swans fans that gather and watch the games there,” said Ms Leong.
Hotel licensee Darren “Harry” McAsey expressed his grief over the potential demolition, and said he was “powerless” in the owner’s decision to close the hotel. The former Sydney Swans player, who has operated the hotel for the last 13 years, told City Hub that it was “a sad day for the hotel and the local residents”.
Head of Security at the hotel, Rudy Azimullah said that Mr McAsey was largely responsible for the pub’s status in the community.
“[Harry] put his heart and soul into this place, he’s made a lot of changes to the way it is now. Before it was a very old, very dark and dingy little pub,” he said.
Mr Azimullah has worked at the hotel since the start of Mr McAsey’s management, and said that the Alexandria was an inviting pub for all of Sydney.
“We like to provide the best of service where people feel relaxed, comfortable and safe. How many pubs in Sydney open the door if a car pulls up at the hotel?”
The DA, submitted by a company owned by Centennial Property Group, seeks to demolish the hotel and replace it with a four storey residential and commercial building.
As previously reported by City Hub, a Centennial Property Group spokesperson said that the development would bring “much needed” housing to an area that was “not heritage listed”.
The deadline for public submissions to City of Sydney had been July 14, but after an overwhelming response, the deadline has been extended until July 21.
The social media campaign ‘Save the Alexandria Hotel’ has continued to gain momentum through Facebook and Tumblr, and there have now been more than 115 comments on development forum PlanningAlerts.