For years I have been actively campaigning for a fresh approach to the revitalisation of Sydney’s once-vibrant Oxford Street.
In June 2016, I moved a motion at Council asking the City’s CEO to devise a new and holistic strategy for the upgrading and redevelopment of all the Oxford Street properties owned by Council. My proposal was to apply the highly successful long-term lease model under which the QVB was redeveloped to our Oxford Street property portfolio.
Clover Moore ignored my repeated calls for action and her party voted down my proposal, claiming that the Lord Mayor’s attempts to establish the area as a “creative” precinct were working.
Now, with empty shopfronts lining the Oxford Street strip, Council has finally admitted that the Lord Mayor’s approach has failed and that my plan is the best way to revive this part of our City.
Council staff prepared a recommendation, carried unanimously at our August 7 Council Meeting, to endorse an Expression of Interest process to identify entities with the expertise and capacity to reposition our Oxford Street properties under a long-term lease. I welcome this proposal as the only sensible way forward which should have been adopted years ago.
The full motion can be found below:
It is resolved that Council:
(A) note the private sector interest received to acquire, masterplan, reposition and manage the City’s three main commercial properties in Oxford Street: 56-76 Oxford Street; 82-106 Oxford Street; and 110-122 Oxford Street;
(B) endorse an Expression of Interest to identify entities with the expertise and capacity to reposition these investment properties on a long-term ground lease; and
(C) note that the criteria to identify suitable partners will be developed around:
(i) expertise, experience and resources to acquire, implement and manage a successful transformation of these properties based on a masterplan developed in collaboration with Council and the public;
(ii) demonstrated strong track record in successfully selecting, planning, implementing and managing redevelopment and/or adaptive re-use or refurbishment of heritage buildings and creating high quality land uses with unique destinational environments; and
(iii) preserving an amount of equivalent effective floor space for the 22 cultural and creative tenancies within any future redevelopment.