Monday, February 7, 2011

The Hive Evolves Again

I was surprised to see yet another Development Application for the Newtown (though most people think of it as Erskineville) site known for a while as the Hive, formerly used as the Mardi Gras workshops. There's been a long history of Development Applications for the site, which has been empty for a significant period of time.

Hive Building
The Mayor has been tracking the evolution of the Hive (not to be confused with the relatively new Hive Bar) since May 2009, when the first revision of the DA occurred. At that stage, it seemed as if the long running saga had finally come to a conclusion, with most people satisfied with the compromise of a single story supermarket, although the Friends of Erskineville were still holding out for something else (what was not quite clear). Sometime during the course of last year, intended occupiers Woolworths, who had been hoping to open their 'gourmet' brand Thomas Dux, must have lost interest, as the most recent DA prior to this week (minor amendments around the internals) mentioned IGA as the tenants.

The new Application has somewhat surprisingly upped the ante, reversing the previous application by adding not one but two stories of residential apartments. Somewhat naively the Traffic Impact statement claims there will be no discernible traffic impact from the additional residencies, as they will all be sold without car spaces. While this is great in principal, I predict a future of the supermarket manager clamping resident's cars that are left in the supermarket's limited parking spaces, and car shuffling around the area's limited parking spaces.

Artists Impression
Despite the above, there's actually a lot to support in this application. It certainly looks smart enough in the photos above, and infill developments like these so close to two train lines are certainly preferable to acres of Mc Mansions in the Hills District. I can't help wondering if the hold-out protesters from the previous proposal are now regretting their opposition to the last-but-one application; as it would appear to have triggered a re-think.
As is often the case with these DAs, there's lot's of  information to be found in the Historical Impact Statement (pdf)  for those of you with an interest in our past. Below is a photo from the report looking down Erskineville Road.

So what do you think ? Is it too big ? Will the traffic ruin the Village ? Or is about time the abandoned sites along Erskineville Road were developed ? 


  1. I am all for any development to say that there is no parking, it does encourage people with no cars to move to that location. What they must also do is encourage people to look at different transport methods eg cycling. With Wilson St up the road they have an almost direct bike 'run' into the CBD. What bike parking is available? Maybe organise a bike course for residence etc

  2. Do you really think is will discourage people with cars? Or will they look around the surrounding area and decide they'll find some place on the street to park? I'm going to guess the later.

    I think the new development should have to provide parking for it's residents - otherwise we're just adding to the parking chaos that is Newtown/Erko.

    The building looks nice in the photo...but I'm generally against adding more levels to the hive building and would prefer a single level supermarket rather than the addition of apartments.

    1. I'd agree. No one that's looking to move to Newtown these days is willing to give up their upwardly mobile car to live there. Those are the old crowd. We're just going to have more overcrowded roads, overparked streets and fatalities will most likely increase.

      Newtown we all know and love is now official dying. RIP.

  3. Interesting, as a resident of this area I'll tell you now that no parking spaces DOES NOT discourage people with cars.

    I agree that the site needs to be re-developed, but providing no parking has the opposite effect, the surrounding streets will become even more congested. I've watched this over the last 15 years, with every new apartment building things get worse.

    Oh and as far as alternative transport, try lugging groceries & a child/children on a bike/bus/walking..GET REAL.

  4. I actually live in Gowrie St, which is the other street the main entrance in the picture above opens onto. I'm happy that there will be a nice handy supermarket at the top of my street, but I'm dreading having to find a parking space once people are living in these units.

    My street and the streets around it are already clogged enough with parked cars; especially at night time on Friday and Saturday nights.

    It seems as if the developers are turning a blind eye to the fact that more dwellings without more parking spaces will cause a problem.

  5. I agree, simply having no parking spots, does not mean occupants will not have cars. Many terrace houses in the area do not have parking, but do they have cars that are parked on the street, Yes of course they do.
    I think having an IGA is a poor outcome, that is a purely selfish view that I do not like IGA's and that a boutique supermarket i.e small family owned ventures would be more in keeping with the areas cosmopolitan mix, even a Thomas Dux would have been better suited.
    I am all for more residential in the area and this appears to be a decent outcome, but please re-think the parking.

  6. The no parking spots decision needs to be accompanied by a clause in sale and rental contracts that make owners and tenants acknowledge that this is a condition of purchase. Not perfect, but I can't see an alternative.

    It's the perfect location to live without a car - and those who 'need' cars (elderly, parents etc) will have to look elsewhere.

    There will inevitably still be an impact on the limited spaces around. I think a commitment to one shared car scheme space and bike racks for 20 bikes should be part of the conditions.

  7. How about an awesome community space that we can all share?

  8. Well, how disappointing! I was really looking forward to having Thomas Dux within walking distance of my house. There is nowhere in Newtown/Eskinville that offers a wide selection of gourmet food items at an acceptible price.

  9. Hi all - related to parking & other Erskineville matters, check out the Friends of Erskineville page --> in particular the Ashmore redevelopment

  10. A few car share spots would alleviate some of the need for parking, and also bike parking. But visitors etc would need parking. I assume there is parking for the supermarket.

    I think I'd welcome a new development there. Would turn an otherwise 'dead' strip into something more lively. Not a great place to live, though, bordered by train line, busy road and petrol station...

  11. I chatted with the guys at BP the other day - looks like already they are having issues with the builders at the Hive using the servo as their parking spot; and they are pretty concerned as to what will happen once it's a supermarket.

    It's not an easy area to supervise !