Two Oxford St venues that escaped the Rees Government’s 2am lock-out are planning huge expansions into adjacent properties with late-trading hours.

The Colombian Hotel and the former DCM/UN nightclub submitted plans to the City of Sydney Council after the list of 50 restricted venues, including five of Oxford St’s biggest, was announced by Premier Nathan Rees four weeks ago.

Both venues stand to benefit from increased patrons when the number of Oxford St venues open after 2am halves from 1 December.

The Colombian has applied for an increase of 60 patrons with the extra space from the adjacent premises at 125 Oxford St, bringing the total capacity to 346 patrons. It has also sought to extend its 24-hour entertainment licence to the additional space.

The new owners of the DCM/UN premises want to take over the building’s ground floor, currently occupied by Oxford Variety store. If approved, the new ground floor bar would have a capacity of 65 patrons and trade from 11am to 3am on weekdays and 5am on weekends, taking advantage of the new small bars legislation.

City of Sydney Council knocked back an increase in trading hours to the venue’s first floor nightclub last month before the lock-outs were announced.

Neither licensee of either venue returned numerous calls this week.

Residents’ group Hyde Park Community Voice is objecting to both expansions because they are taking away properties available for daytime trade and replacing them with more alcohol.
We all know the area desperately needs more daytime business, not more bars, HPCV spokeswoman Christine Byrne said.

The licensees of the four gay venues included in the lock-out announcement -” Arq, Exchange, Oxford, and Stonewall Hotels -” told Sydney Star Observer they would lose business as a result of the recent restrictions, which will drive patrons to the remaining venues.

Where else are gay people going to go after 2am? Colombian and the [Midnight] Shift. And what happens when they get added to the list too, Arq licensee Shadd Danesi said.

Surry Hills Commander Donna Adney and several senior officials from the City of Sydney will address local business owners at an event organised by the Darlinghurst Business Partnership next month.

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