Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mystery Photo VII - Narrow Lane

Time for the first Mystery Photo of 2010. Somewhere in Newtown is this faded sign - where exactly ?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Newtown Hub Update

This weeks Inner West Courier has an article on Newtown's Hub, although unfortunately there is no news as such. The owner, Chris Vlattas, is quoted blaming Marrickville Council for the lack of progress in turning The Hub into an entertainment venue, a charge which the council quite reasonably denies given the most recent DA was for shops and offices (see my take from last year).

Maybe the publicity will force those interested to discuss sensible options for the venue; certainly Newstown readers have come up with some creative ideas. Use of such an iconic building for shops and apartments would really be a shame. Some sort of concert / cinema venue would be the most logical use - but I'd love to see some more original ideas !

Here's hoping - one thing for sure is that The Hub has stood empty for way too long.

Posted via email from Mayor's posterous

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Newtown Hotel Renovation Proposal

Image - Humphrey Edwards Interior Designers and Architects

It's been a while since I've been as excited about a development proposal as this one. The main reason (apart from the re-opening of a venue that's been closed for way too long) is that this proposed renovation includes the reconstruction of the original verandas. There are several diagram of how it might look, including a front view here (pdf).

I'd like to complement the consultants on the detailed preparation done for this D.A; I've never seen such a well researched application. Anyone interested in local history should take a look at the Heritage Appendices (Appendix 3.x), and there's a lot of information on how the renovated hotel will look in other documents.

Gleeson Grocers - (c) City of Sydney Archives

Those of you familiar with old photos of Newtown will know that these verandas were once commonplace along King Street. These days however they're virtually non-existent - instead mostly replaced by awnings and occasionally (C.B.A. building for example) nothing at all.

Hopefully this D.A (if approved) will be the start of a trend; I imagine one of the motivators for this is the provision of smoking area - an unfortunate consequence of the indoors smoking ban in pubs (which the mayor loves) is that the best areas of many bars (the outdoors ones) now resemble ashtrays - but these verandas provide a neat solution for those bars that don't have outdoor areas; as well as extending table space for dining areas.

More positively this could increase the utility of the first floor of the buildings along King Street; hopefully some first floors could become small bars or even restaurants if verandas become more prevalent. I'd love to see official council policy encourage recreation of verandas along King Street - someone should speak to the Mayor !

I'm not aware of all the details of the dispute between the building owners and Newtown Hotel operators; although there is some good background here and here. The most recent news suggests that a compromise was brewing - here's hoping that's the case. I'd be interested if anyone has some inside info - drop me a note.

The trading hours requested are only to midnight - personally I think this is a shame; with the restriction on using the King Street entrance only after 11pm I can't see why the bar can't stay open until a few hours later. The proposed design also seems to include private dining rooms - and even a function area (see the 2nd floor plans), as well an internal courtyard and outdoor dining area.

All in all, a promising looking D.A - let's hope it gets up, and sparks a trend for the re-veranda-isation (there's a neologism for you) of King Street.