Sydney’s iconic entertainment spot Kings Cross could return to shades of its former glory if grand new plans from urban think-tank Committee for Sydney is anything to go by.
Their soon to be released report, with research co-funded by the City of Sydney, and undertaken with the University of Technology Sydney, the Sydney Business Chamber and local stakeholders set out a firm vision for the once-bustling precinct.
The primary reason for the research and report came about as Kings Cross found itself lacking identity following the archaic lockout laws that crippled the area for years. During that time developers pounced and turned venues and large spaces into countless apartment blocks with a heavy backing of residential over nightlife.
Now, with the removal of the lockout laws, there’s an opportunity to revitalise the area into a 24-hour mixed-use economy once again.
Various ideas have been proposed but the driving vision revolves around the iconic Coke Cola sign that has beamed its neon goodness over the last few decades (originally erected in 1974). With this in mind, it’s recommended certain areas will be lit with neon signage that’ll guide punters along the golden mile and past various cafes, restaurants, small bars, exhibition spaces and live music venues.
Other ideas include turning retail shops into co-working spaces, pedestrian-only roads, development of laneway activations, the re-opening of the Minerva Theatre on Orwell Street that could house up to 1000 ticket holders and much, much more.
Another major reform is the protection of venues from residential sound complaints. This reflects something recently proposed for the innerwest that’d see noise complaints from residents pushed through local councils instead of the more authoritative bodies such as the liquor regulator, the Land and Environment Court and licencing police.
It firmly fits with the NSW Governments ’24-hour Economy Strategy’ that will identify ‘neon hubs’ around NSW that promote their own 24-hour economies across night and day.
This bold plan for Kings Cross comes with the appointment of a night-time economy commissioner, establishment of the YCK Laneways precinct and another, equally big $43.5m plan to develop George Street into a ‘car free’ zone.
Good times ahead for Sydney’s nightlife!