Kings Cross Bourbon Hotel facade belatedly deemed to be heritage

Kings Cross Bourbon Hotel facade belatedly deemed to be heritage
Kings Cross Bourbon Hotel facade belatedly deemed to be heritage

The City of Sydney has released new planning controls for Darlinghurst Road in Kings Cross, a blueprint for how the Council assesses all future development in the iconic inner city village.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the draft controls set out new design principles for Darlinghurst Road, plus a preferred building form for the properties along the east side of Darlinghurst Road from Roslyn Street to Fitzroy Gardens and Macleay Street, which includes the Bourbon and Empire Hotels.

“Kings Cross has played an important role in Sydney’s history. It’s one of the country’s most diverseand exciting areas and its unique character should be retained, even as Kings Cross changes in the future,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“These draft controls recommend that any future development retains the look and feel of the current streetscape prioritising active street frontages and small grain uses – all things the community said were important.

“We’re recommending any new development set aside 50 per cent of its floor space for non-residential uses and we’ll be pursuing heritage listings for Kingsley Hall and the façade of the Bourbon, as well as asking that future development of the Empire Hotel recognises its social historyas the home of the infamous 1960s’ nightclub, Les Girls.

Our changes will make sure any new development in the area respects the edgy, historic and iconic characteristics of Kings Cross.

The City is also proposing to heritage list three new sites along Darlinghurst Road:

  •   Kingsley Hall at 1A Elizabeth Bay Road – a fine example of a purpose-built inter-war art deco apartment building designed by celebrated Sydney architect Emil Sodersteen. Located on the corner of Darlinghurst Road and Fitzroy Gardens.

  •   The façade of The Bourbon at 22–24 Darlinghurst Road – a site of historical significance that reflects social and architectural change in Potts Point over the decades. The mansion terrace was originally built for wealthy professionals, then modified for use as a private hospital, later converted to a boarding house, and finally became a popular nightclub.

  •   The Empire site at 32–32A Darlinghurst Road – this modernist building housed the internationally recognised Les Girls nightclub in the 1960s and 1970s. While it has been heavily altered over the years, the site retains historical and social significance for its important role in Kings Cross’s colourful past. The proposed controls allow the building to be redeveloped, provided any new development takes into account the site’s history and social connections.

The development of the new controls was overseen by the City’s Design Advisory Panel after the council were lashed by extensive community feedback.

Work will continue on detailed building form controls for the remainder of Darlinghurst Road.

Darlinghurst Road is located within the Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay heritage conservation area, which extends from the Garden Island naval depot in the north to Kings Cross Road in the south, and from Victoria Street in the west to Ward Avenue in the east. Two sites on the strip are already heritage listed – the Kings Cross Library at 50–52 Darlinghurst Road, and the building known as Minton House at 72–80 Darlinghurst Road.

The draft planning controls will be on exhibition later this month. The proposed heritage listings will be reviewed by the NSW Government before being exhibited at a later date. All feedback will be reported back to Council and the Central Sydney Planning Committee before the development controls are adopted.

A second development control plan with specific controls for the remainder of Darlinghurst Road is being prepared and will be reported to Council in 2019.

The draft planning controls were developed after significant community and Council concern over a proposed development at 18–32A Darlinghurst Road, which ignored current City planning controls and which would have demolished the Bourbon façade to make way for 83 residential apartments. The plans were later withdrawn by the applicant.

Councillors will decide if the new controls are ready for public exhibition at a meeting on Monday night.

The changes include:

            a new locality statement that describes the area’s character and key principles for new development, based on community feedback

  •   encouraging a minimum of 50 per cent of floor space along Darlinghurst Road to be set aside for non-residential uses such as shops, restaurants, cafes and other services

  •   building heights, setbacks and specific design requirements for 18-32A Darlinghurst Road (the Bourbon Hotel site) to ensure new development fits into the surrounding context, integrates heritage, protects sunlight and supports its existing character

      heritage guidelines to ensure new development is compatible with and complementary to existing heritage items and the broader social and historic significance of the area

     

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