Sydney Chinatown to get once-in-a-generation facelift

The City of Sydney council has given the go-ahead for a $44 million revitalisation of Haymarket and Chinatown.

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Over 1,000 community members and businesses took part in a multilingual consultation for a major renewal project set to revamp the iconic district of Chinatown in Sydney’s CBD.

Over the next 10 years, the council will invest over $40 million to upgrade Dixon Street, Belmore Park, and Goulburn, Sussex, Harbour, Quay and Thomas streets.

“Haymarket is one of Sydney’s most iconic urban villages,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “There is nowhere else in the world with the broad spectrum of Asian communities that exists within the streets that make up Haymarket.”

By collaborating with local residents and businesses, the City of Sydney plans to “create a world-class destination, economic and cultural precinct”.

In recent years, the area has experienced a wave of challenges, and Ms Moore stated that the renewal is crucial “to celebrate the important precinct’s past and help safeguard its future”.

“Our plans include a long-term upgrade of public space, with more trees, seats, lighting and integrated public art, as well as a proposed review of planning controls to support vibrant building signage and renewal of smaller buildings as a point of difference from the city centre,” said the lord mayor.

In line with feedback from community consultations, the first priority is Dixon Street, “the heart of Chinatown”, with work in the area already underway. According to the council, the Ceremonial Gates are set to be restored in 2024, and improvements to Thai Town on Campbell Street will also take place soon.

Future works will include a revitalisation of Belmore Park near Central Station to “help realise its potential as a green oasis”, a new lighting master plan, a reconfiguration of Sussex Street to facilitate walking and cycling, and greater support for events in the precinct.

The council also plans to take on board the community’s desire for a “diverse, friendly and safe area that’s easy to navigate, with a range of food options and a streetscape that respects and celebrates the social and cultural history of the area”.

Ms Moore concluded: “This holistic vision requires partnership with business, other levels of government, tenants, landowners and those with strong ties to the area, one which we are committed to continuing throughout the revitalisation process.”

The Chinatown revamp is just one of many changes the City of Sydney council has supported recently, including a proposed increase in build-to-rent (BTR) and co-living accommodation in the CBD.

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