BY JOHN MOYLE
The ghost of the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar’s founder, Bernie Houghton, howled Tuesday night as news arrived of a development application (DA) proposing the construction of 83 apartments along a strip of Darlinghurst Road from near the famous El Alamein Fountain to the Empire Hotel located at the other end of the block.
Development Application D/2017/1705 lodged by Piccadilly Freehold Pty Ltd aft Piccadilly Property Trust calls for the demolition of the ‘existing structures except for the northern and western facades of nos 30-30B Darlinghurst Road’ and the construction of a mixed use development with 5, 6 ,7 and 8 storey apartments.’
“This is not a DA but an EA, meaning that it is an exploitation application,” Andrew Woodhouse, president, Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage and Residents’ Association said.
It is believed that Piccadilly Trust is a stalking horse for Iris, a property and hospitality company on whose website the development is described as ‘Our vision is to create a sophisticated food and entertainment offering activated through a series of laneways and a luxury apartment complex’.
The $47.5 million development will also see a 101-car space basement car park built with access to be from the narrow and already congested Barncleuth Lane that runs parallel to Darlinghurst Road.
In terms of streetscape, the development will see part of the Bourbon’s facade being retained but for all other frontage to be removed for new bars and restaurants, with apartments above.
None of the buildings listed for redevelopment are heritage listed, but they do contribute to a well-loved streetscape and play an important role in the area’s ambience.
The Empire Hotel at the other end of the block was once the famous Les Girls Revue and later home to the much-loved Tender Trap, so we may see a few divas frocking up for a protest on Darlinghurst Road once again.
The construction phase could take years and would mean the closure of Barncleuth Lane and limit access to Barncleuth Square.
Two much-needed doctors’ surgeries will be affected, as will access to a number of cafes and shops situated in Roslyn Street.
Dust and noise mitigation will likely become a problem not only in the immediate area but also across a wide swathe of Potts Point.
The Lido Hotel on the corner of Barncleuth Lane and Roslyn Street could possibly be forced to close, as it will be hard to attract guests when a construction site is raging next door.
All of the residents in the Barncleuth Square, Roslyn Street block will also be affected by dust and noise.
“The local residents nearby will be living on a construction site for years, reducing their amenities,” Andrew Woodhouse said.
Then again, the application could be an ambit claimed designed to find out where the limits of the local community lay.
While City Hub will have to wait until next year for further information, in the meantime why not give City of Sydney a Christmas greeting by contacting Russell Hand on 9265 9333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know your thoughts on the DA