One of the Sydney CBD’s busiest and most prominent streets – George Street – is receiving a multi-million-dollar makeover aimed at transforming it into a world-class boulevard.
Among other things, the $43.5-million makeover will give it wider footpaths, more trees, new street furniture and extensive paving for walking and outdoor dining.
Plans also call for 9,000 square metres of car-free space along the George Street light-rail route from Bathurst Street to Railway Square. In addition, the project will open up a new public space on Devonshire Street between Chalmers and Elizabeth streets, Surry Hills.
Work on the new-look George Street, which was old Sydney’s original ‘high street’, began in March this year.
Support recovery from Covid’s impact
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the project will be a boost for the local economy and support recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Block by block, we’re turning bitumen into beautiful paving with room for new trees, outdoor dining and street furniture,” she said.
“We’ve loved seeing people reclaim George Street South while the temporary road closure measures have been in place. Now we want to make these measures permanent, giving people more space to window shop, dine and walk while maintaining physical distancing.”
According to the Lord Mayor, the work will complete a long-held vision of turning George Street into a tree-lined pedestrian and light-rail boulevard through the heart of Sydney.
The area will become more appealing
Extending this public space with permanent, quality infrastructure would make the area more appealing for workers, visitors, residents and local businesses. It would also encourage walking through the centre of the city.
The project is being supported at all levels of government and will be completed with a $7-million contribution from the Federal Government for part of the project on George Street between Bathurst and Goulbourn streets, and $1-million from the NSW Government for the overall works.
The Albion Place Hotel on George Street is one of those set to benefit from the first stage of transformation. David Highet, Director of Operations for venue owner Reserve Hotels, said the new-look George Street will help revitalise the area.
“This part of town has always been a bustling entertainment hub that attracted a diverse demographic looking to eat, drink and come together at a range of venues. But when Covid hit, we saw business slump overnight,” he said.
“This is going to help turn George Street South into a destination in its own right and take the precinct to the next level.”