Oxford St was one of only four major projects to receive no money in this year’s City of Sydney capital works budget worth more than $187 million.
The Golden Mile has been nominated for $900,000 in the 2009/10 forward estimate, but missed out on priority project status to Green Square and Christmas in the City.
Instead of public funding, the first step in the strip’s revitalisation will be the approval of a tender for the new food, services and lifestyle emporium in City-owned north-side buildings. No starting date has been scheduled.
A survey of the area’s business needs conducted by the Darlinghurst Business Partnership and the City projected the primary sector’s population to grow by more than a quarter to 27,000 by 2016, and the total trading area population estimated at 889,000 people. It found income levels were well above average and had low numbers of children or car ownership.
By meeting the population’s convenience needs Oxford St could reverse its downward trend and become as successful as King St, Newtown or Chapel St, Melbourne, if it attracted the right core retailers, the study found.
However, the three-year-old study was out-of-date and not relevant to today’s tougher financial situation, Aussie Boys’ owner Ken Holmes said.
If they don’t have an investor for the centre and can’t start right away, then [Lord Mayor] Clover Moore needs to do something right now like offer needed businesses a year’s free rent, Holmes told Sydney Star Observer.
City funds will be used for a facelift of homogenous buildings to emphasise the quirky qualities of the area, but the later plans for a hotel, restaurant and side streets could also rely on private tenders.
A council progress report on Oxford St safety claimed City officers were cracking down on trading hours of food and convenience stores.
Joint operations between City Rangers and local police targeting car-related crime in the area had also begun in April.