Good news! The Alexandria Hotel is soon to re-open! While this has probably been apparent to locals watching the recent activity on site, it’s great to now have official confirmation from Merivale, the owners.
It was back in 2015 when The Alex was sold to a property developer who lodged a Development Application to demolish it and build 28 apartments. A concerted campaign by locals to save this historic hotel from the wrecking ball resulted in more than 500 written objections and thousands of signatures on a petition to City of Sydney council. The application was refused and an interim heritage order was placed on the hotel.
Of course it didn’t stop there – the developers took the matter to the Land & Environment Court and over 100 people turned up to the hearing to object. In the face of such overwhelming community opposition, the developers withdrew the proposal. Over the next year they attempted several compromise proposals, including one which would have had a 7 story apartment building in the rear yard of the hotel! Continued community and council pressure led them to give up and sell the hotel to Merivale.
This has definitely been a great example of people power, but it’s been a somewhat bittersweet victory to date – the hotel was saved from the wrecking ball, but has sat idle due to logistical difficulties.
But that’s all about to change! Merivale has told us they are excited to reopen the hotel as “Backyard at the Alex”. The first stage of the re-opening will be a vibrant outdoor space to allow the ongoing restoration of the interior to continue.
The focus is on the return of the community hub that we fought to retain, rather than the destination venue that might have been expected from Merivale. Taking inspiration from a classic backyard, the hotel will be a family and dog friendly outdoor space where locals can socialise over great food and drinks in a fun, lively setting. The outdoor viewing screen will once again be available to cheer on the Sydney Swans and for other sporting events.
Backyard at The Alex will play host to rotating food trucks serving dishes from some of Sydney’s much loved food operators. The first two to take up residency will be Wholly Schnit serving a range of handmade chicken schnitzels and sides, and Firepop, specialising in Yakitori style bamboo skewers. Merivale will also be serving their pub favourites from a popup kitchen.
ARAG, REDWatch and Friends of Erskineville are running a new campaign: to build a bridge from Carriageworks to South Eveleigh. This project has been talked about for decades and now is the time to get it done.
If this is something you’d like to see, please sign the petition!