The Alex has been SAVED!!!

In astonishing news released today, it has been announced that plans to re-develop the Alexandria Hotel site have been scrapped.

The developers have walked away – tails between their legs – after selling the site to the Merivale group who plan to renovate the Alex and re-open it as a pub.

This is an ASTOUNDING victory for the residents of Alexandria who rallied, repeatedly, to save the Alex. The drive of people such as Ben and Michelle and countless other Alexandria residents shows that communities can achieve strong outcomes.

The drive and persistence shown by all has been memorable.

It could have been too easy to lie down after the first development proposal was rejected, and say “job done”. But developers are persistent beasts.

To rally again to reject the seven-storey proposal provided proof that Alexandrians are prepared to fight, HARD, for what they believe in.

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group congratulates you all for your success today.

It’s an Alexandria “Castle” moment – and we hope one of many more to come.

Developers were clearly shown how the “vibe” of Alexandria works!

The community has had success in changing development outcomes, including the changed design of the Mitchell Road Auction Centre site, but winning against a consortium of Property Unit Trust investors to save the Alex is huge.

Merivale have created a website where we, as residents, are invited to contribute ideas and energy to the renovation of the Alex. Sign up here to get involved.

The Merivale press release document is here: Merivale saves The Alex.

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group also would like to thank the staff of the City of Sydney who were able to secure an interim Heritage Order on the Alex and who engaged a legal team to include us, the residents, at the Land and Environment Court.

The fact that the legal team engaged us as residents and worked with us to have our objections and ideas reformulated to maximise our impact before the L&E Court is greatly appreciated, but also recognises that objections from communities like ours cannot be merely brushed aside as if coming from an anti-development ratbag fringe.

In other news, the pop-up kitchens that were announced last week have been dropped.

Council Elections: Candidates’ Forum – Wednesday 10th August

The City of Sydney Council Elections are to be held in September.

Wednesday 10th August is ARAG’s regular monthly meeting and once again we are teaming with REDwatch, Friends of Erskineville and Chippendale Residents’ Interest Group to host another Candidates’ Forum.

Be at the Alexandria Town Hall in Garden Street to hear the candidates speak on issues relevant to Alexandria, and to ask your questions. Be informed before you vote. ARAG is not aligned politically – we host these events to inform our residents.

REDwatch, ARAG, FoE and CRIG have agreed two questions of concern to residents that each candidate must address in their presentation before speaking to other issues.

The first question is their attitude to WestConnex; the second relates to business voting in the City of Sydney.

The confirmed speakers at this time are:

  • Clover Moore, Lord Mayor
  • Linda Scott, CoSC Councillor – Labor
  • Angela Vithoulkas, CoSC Councillor – Sydney Matters
  • Lindsay Johnston, Greens Candidate

We believe that Liberal candidate Christine Forster will send a member of her group to speak on her behalf.

We’d welcome your interest and attendance on Wednesday 10th August at Alexandria Town Hall from 7 pm sharp.

Visit here for more information.

Alexandria Hotel – another reprieve

Today, 4th August 2016 an on-site meeting of the Land and Environment Court was scheduled to hear residents’ objections in relation to the proposed seven-storey development for the beer garden of the Alexandria Hotel.

This latest tilt at windmills by the proponents aims to retain the hotel and the small beer garden on the western edge and to subdivide the land into two lots – one for the pub and the other for a seven-storey residential tower fronting Garden Street in the east, and a wider frontage to Vice Chancellors Oval to the west.

There has been a couple of simple problems to this development all along.

The Alexandria Hotel was being assessed for an interim Heritage Order – since granted by the City of Sydney. The proponents’ first development application was to raze the entire site.

The second problem is quite fundamental – the beer garden is on the easement of the Illawarra Railway Line. Twin tunnels run from Redfern Station (platforms 11 and 12) under the hotel beer garden and surface near Erskineville Station.

These railway tunnels pass just three metres below the beer garden – barely ten feet.

Transport for NSW has been quiet on the issue of building over their easement – until today. It is believed that approvals had been hinted at to the proponents, subject to certain conditions.

However, today TfNSW has sought to join the court proceedings as an interested party (what took them so long!!??) and the outcome of discussions with the proponents is uncertain.

Will TfNSW allow development over their easement and if so, what conditions, if any, will be imposed? Will TfNSW deny building on their easement? Will applications be sought (probably to the NSW Supreme Court) to have the easement amended in some way to allow a building to proceed?

All of this still does not address how one would go about building a three-, four- or even seven-storey building over the railway tunnels, on what is basically sandy soils.

In what we believe to be a first, thanks to the on-going actions of Alexandria residents, this is the first time that the Land and Environment Court has met on a site twice, and on both occasions had the proceeding adjourned.

Well done one and all!!

To celebrate – well, more coincidence really – Broadsheet Sydney is planning a pop-up kitchen to be run from the Alex during September and October.

Further details can be found at their website here where you can subscribe to their newsletter. To quote their website:

Next month we’re opening a huge outdoor bar and kitchen in Alexandria, with a menu by your favourite restaurants and bars.

We’ve always thought Sydney’s restaurants and bars were something to celebrate. Now, we’re working with them to take that celebration off the screen and into the city.

For two months this spring, Broadsheet is unveiling a new kind of outdoor dining experience, with help from Sydney’s most exciting chefs, bartenders and creatives.

Running from day into night on weekends in September and October, the Broadsheet Open-Air Kitchen will transform the legendary Alexandria Hotel.

A host of your favourite restaurants are creating new dishes they’ve never served before, and drinks will be curated by some of our favourite bartenders.

Broadsheet‘s team of collaborators is working to showcase the best of Sydney in one place, and from the music to the setting we’ll make sure there are a few surprises.

Public Meeting: WestConnex and Central to Eveleigh

Lord Mayor Clover Moore will be holding a public meeting to discuss WestConnex and the Central to Eveleigh Precinct, on Wednesday 27 July from 6.30pm at Alexandria Town Hall, Garden Street, Alexandria.

ARAG encourages all local residents to attend. This is the future of our suburb being discussed.

Lord Mayor’s Invitation to WestConnex and Central to Eveleigh public meeting

Do you rely on train services at St Peters or Erskineville?

Jenny Leong’s office is soliciting comments from residents who will be impacted by the Baird government’s plan to reduce train services to St Peters and Erskineville Stations: http://www.jennyleong.org/train_services.

July meeting: C2E, Alex Hotel update, AGM

The agenda for Wednesday’s ARAG meeting (13/7) is:

1. Central to Eveleigh

Development along the rail corridor between
Central and Eveleigh stations.

Guest speaker: Matthew White, Program Director, UrbanGrowth NSW.

2. Update on Alexandria Hotel

Land and Environment Court proceedings have resumed.

There will be a ‘Mediation’ meeting between the developer, and Council,
and Residents: Aug 4, 9:30am, on-site

3. AGM.

Anyone who wishes to become more involved in the Residents Group is
encouraged to nominate to join the Executive.

Sydney Metro submissions close today (Mon 27/6)

Today (Monday 2/6) is the last opportunity to lodge a comment on the so-called Sydney Metro.

See our previous post for ways to object, or visit the majorprojects website.

The reason I say so-called Metro, is because this isn’t really a Metro. It has some of the features of a Metro, but not the good ones. Continue reading

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