Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hatches Batches and Dispatches VIII

A bit of scandal in SoKi (South King Street) after an apparent management coup at the popular Pastizzi cafe - leading to a boycott call taken up on Facebook and Twitter (and hopefully in the real world). There are some more details and photos on Street Food.

Meanwhile the interminable Energy Australia (now re-branded AusGrid - at least their info shop near the old Effies) works roll on.

New Openings

  • Charming World grocer - in the distant and seldom visited upper reaches of King St - wins the award for best new name this edition.
  • Ramen Bar adds some spice to the ground floor of Berkelouw in Newtown (which was opened by KRudd ex-PM - they forgot the Mayor). Already reviewed on Street Food.
  • A new(ish) cafe Pickwick's on Enmore Road is getting good reviews.

  • Much loved North Newtown institution Rosalinas is for lease
  • Crepe Kingdom on Enmore Road didn't last long; looks like some financial issues
  • The Eatery opposite old Elizabeths site is boarded up - not sure if for renovations or replacement. Anyone ?
  • Braintree Hemp and VietMaison north of Missenden Road both shut up shop recently
Development Applications

  • A small bar to replace Pleasure Zone (above) ?
  • A games Cafe on North King Street (details - while the DA is active)
  • There is a DA with Marrickville Council to redevelop the TA Andrews funeral home on Enmore Road into apartments and shops (commenter on Hatches VII
  • After 30 years, Edgeware Family Practice is moving to a practice in Church St Newtown (also from the comments)
  • Sopranos near the Hub has started live music - as has Corridor, which is also hosting some Comedy Festival acts
You can see all the links that I have shared on Twitter via my public timeline.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hatches Batches and Dispatches VII

It's time for the first issue of Hatches for 2011. The big news in town has been the long awaited commencement of work on Newtown Station, with the roof of the platform removed one weekend in February, and the remaining structure now being surrounded in hoardings and slowly removed. Sadly after waiting so long it's still not until the end of 2012 that we will get the new station.

Another issue that has been generating a lot of concern is the long running Energy Australia works; especially given the quality of streets (Wilson St for example) that apparently are considered finished. While the King Street footpath will be repaired it seems we're stuck with the little black boxes outside all the shops - the price we have to pay to get the overhead wires removed.

Wilson St EnergyAustralia Repairs

New Openings
Pie Tin on Brown St
  • Pie Tin opened in the location of the old Pretty Dog on Brown Street. In a nice touch they also added a plaque giving some history of the building - hopefully this will be a trend that is continued.
  • There's a new(ish) Turkish restaurant Matee in the location of the old Bhan Thai restaurant next to Moose. Finally checked it out recently - recommended.
  • The Newtown Hotel has reopened as Freaky Tiki Bar - apparently for a 'while' until renovations get under way. Given the popularity of Freaky Tiki I wouldn't be surprised if some sort of Tiki theme survived the renovations - here's hoping.
  • Funky Cafe re-opened with new owners after being closed for a while.
  • Elizabeth's Bookshops moved down the road into the old Newtown Deli (which moved further down King Street to avoid the mad rents). At the moment there are two Elizabeth's on King St, with some pretty cheap good books on sale while they move.

Development Applications

  • Sydney Uni snuck out a master plan for Abercrombie Street while no-one was looking. 
  • The Townie applied for later trading hours for their smoking areas.
  • A plan for an art-gallery on Brown Street
  • Cafe Newtown got a review in the lateral eating blog, and the whole of South King Street got a write up on InnerWest Lifestyle, reminding me I really should finish my post on the same topic I started a year ago - before all the businesses mentioned close !
  • A Newtown local nominated himself for a minor Darwin award after tagging a police car - outside the Newtown Police Station. 
  • Quartly's Mitre Ten is consolidating into the back shop (on the Whately Street carpark) after 95 years pn the same site - and 125 in Newtown. The main store apparently will be replaced by a bloody chemist - just what Newtown needs. There's a photo from the 70s here on the excellent Newtown Project site.
  • In better news, Marrickville council are voting soon to implement a smoking ban in pubic places - that could lead to the incongruous situation of no smoking on just one half of King St
  • Finally, a call to arms in the Inner West Courier to re-unite Newtown in one council - although they neglected the bit about me being reinstated on the Mayoral Throne.
You can see all the links that I have shared on Twitter via my public timeline.

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Newtown Station Platform Demolition

    Newtown residents were notified of the commencement of Phase 3 renovations with the note below this week, promising the demolition of the platform buildings and construction of the temporary shelters.

    Sure enough, this afternoon (Feb 19th) the machinery was in and the 1924 platform building was being carted away
     Old platform roof gone

     Temporary platform buildings and shelter

    Constructing new shelter

    You can also see the supports for the new entrance (concrete pillars) going up in the background in the photo above.

    Roofless Platform

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    The Hive Evolves Again

    I was surprised to see yet another Development Application for the Newtown (though most people think of it as Erskineville) site known for a while as the Hive, formerly used as the Mardi Gras workshops. There's been a long history of Development Applications for the site, which has been empty for a significant period of time.

    Hive Building
    The Mayor has been tracking the evolution of the Hive (not to be confused with the relatively new Hive Bar) since May 2009, when the first revision of the DA occurred. At that stage, it seemed as if the long running saga had finally come to a conclusion, with most people satisfied with the compromise of a single story supermarket, although the Friends of Erskineville were still holding out for something else (what was not quite clear). Sometime during the course of last year, intended occupiers Woolworths, who had been hoping to open their 'gourmet' brand Thomas Dux, must have lost interest, as the most recent DA prior to this week (minor amendments around the internals) mentioned IGA as the tenants.

    The new Application has somewhat surprisingly upped the ante, reversing the previous application by adding not one but two stories of residential apartments. Somewhat naively the Traffic Impact statement claims there will be no discernible traffic impact from the additional residencies, as they will all be sold without car spaces. While this is great in principal, I predict a future of the supermarket manager clamping resident's cars that are left in the supermarket's limited parking spaces, and car shuffling around the area's limited parking spaces.

    Artists Impression
    Despite the above, there's actually a lot to support in this application. It certainly looks smart enough in the photos above, and infill developments like these so close to two train lines are certainly preferable to acres of Mc Mansions in the Hills District. I can't help wondering if the hold-out protesters from the previous proposal are now regretting their opposition to the last-but-one application; as it would appear to have triggered a re-think.
    As is often the case with these DAs, there's lot's of  information to be found in the Historical Impact Statement (pdf)  for those of you with an interest in our past. Below is a photo from the report looking down Erskineville Road.

    So what do you think ? Is it too big ? Will the traffic ruin the Village ? Or is about time the abandoned sites along Erskineville Road were developed ? 

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Newtown Station 2011 Update

    It's been a while since my last update on the Newtown Station renovations but over Christmas some more details were released accompanying the Development Application to Sydney Council. Before going into some more detail on what the final outcome will look like, some 'milestones' news.

    Artists Impression

    According to the Project Manager, Phase1 (archaeological and some demolition works) is complete. Phase 2 (ground work and piling associated with the construction of the new concourse and walkway) is nearing completion, and Phase 3 (main construction works) will be starting soon. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012.

    The end of 2012 seems a long way away - apparently the main reason it will take so long is the need to keep the station running while doing the works, and the need for 'track possessions' - when the trains don't run - which are apparently limited to 4/year (although I could swear they are more frequent).

    Apart form the artist's impression above, probably the best idea of the overall layout of the new station comes from the upgrade plan below. The new concourse is quite a long way down the platform, pretty much on top of the existing 1927 platform building, which is to be demolished. There will also be a new entry from Thomas Street, behind the Newtown Central shopping centre.

    One thing I couldn't find, despite looking everywhere, was an impression of what the revised walkway roof would look like. The original design, or at least the artists impression of it, caused quite a bit of controversy when the original plans were announced, so I was curious to see what the announced more discrete canopy would look like. The closest I could find was in the sketch below, showing the view from the side of the station - I can only assume no impressions were generated to avoid controversy ! Let me know if you manage to find an impression anywhere.

    Walkway canopy
    In order to provide cover to the access walkway, a canopy is to be constructed
    between King Street and the new concourse.  A 4 metre wide walkway canopy commences at King Street adjacent the existing booking office building and continues along the northern side of the walkway to the concourse building where it continues down to the new station concourse building, where it would terminate beneath the canopy of the concourse. Drawings of the design and the proposed form of the walkway are located in Appendix C
    I did find the above about the canopy in the 'REF' - Review of Environmental Factors - but none of the diagrams in Appendix C sated my curiosity !

    Concourse Level Side View

    The DA also has a large set of detailed plans. Those interested in history should check out Appendix D1 - the Heritage Report. The remaining Appendix D volumes are mostly more modern photos, with the exception of Appendix D7 which contains an ammendment to the original HIS, updated after the original plans were modified, which is where I learnt that the stairs (1892 originals) will be retained as an emergency exit from the platform.

    Building the platform in 1927
    Appendix E - the archaeological report - contains even more history, unfortunately broken into 7 chunks, I guess to facilitate easy downloading for those still on Tony Abbott approved dial-up.

    So it's a long wait, but I think the finished product will be worth it. Next step - find out what's happening to those Tram Sheds !