City Hub

Could The Alex be saved?

BY CHRISTOPHER HARRIS
The developers of the Alexandria Hotel site may be walking away from the table, following the turn out of 100 people at a conciliation conference on Wednesday September 30.

The NSW Land and Environment Court ordered the conference to see if either party could compromise on the proposed redevelopment.

Speaking to City Hub on Wednesday morning, Ben Noblet, a representative of the Save The Alex group, said he thought the strong turn out could cause the developer to reconsider demolishing the hotel for construction of 28 apartments on the site.

Alexandria Hotel Conciliation Meeting. Source: Supplied

“Although nothing was decided today and the appeals were not yet officially withdrawn, it was mentioned by Mr Philip Clay SC who was appearing for the City of Sydney that the developers would put aside the current application and weigh up their options,” Mr Noblet said.

He said the applicant realised “pretty quickly” there would be no compromise available.

“They are setting that application aside, and considering what they can do to retain the building, and resubmit that through council.”

Wednesday’s conference was the latest episode in the enormous opposition to the demolition of the hotel.

In July, developers set their sights on demolishing the 1930s building to construct apartments.

But opposition to the plan has drawn widespread support, resulting in an interim heritage order placed on the hotel until early next year and the case moving to the NSW Land and Environment Court.

The pubs’ licensee Harry McAsey told City Hub that he was very pleased with the widespread support the pub had gotten.

“It has been overwhelming, and you have a business and you operate in the community, in the village, in your suburb, and sometimes you are unaware of the passion people have toward the venue,” Mr McAsey said.

“With the possibility of it being taken away, they are standing up and voicing their opinion.”
He said the reason why the pub had gotten so much support was because it had “served the community for numerous decades.”

President of Alexandria Resident Action Group Ben Aveling told City Hub that the hotel was of superlative heritage significance because of the unique period and condition of the building.

“Even the developer’s own heritage assessment acknowledges that there is a case. One of the things they do is identify six similar hotels, implication being that this one doesn’t need to be kept. All of the others are heritage listed, but not in as good a condition.”

The developer, Centennial Property Group, did not respond to City Hub’s enquiries in time for print.

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