Kings Cross Businesses Get Free Rent To Cope With Post-Lockout Downturn

Free rent will be offered to commercial tenants located on the Kings Cross commercial strip in Sydney, as part of a bid to bring back business lost in the post-lockout economy. The plan involves a $14,000 investment by support organisations Renew Australia and the Potts Point Partnership.

As The Daily Telegraph reports, the Kings Cross lockout laws have so affected the area’s economy that free rent will be offered to start-up businesses in the area. Renew, a group launched by broadcaster Marcus Westbury, is credited with revitalising the commercial district in Newcastle.

After Renew Newcastle came into effect in 2009 — matching the landlords of Newcastle’s long-dormant Hunter St commercial strip with young entrepreneurs — record stores, gallery spaces, boutiques, and craft centres began to open in the city centre for the first time in decades.

Landlords participating in the scheme, set to launch in October, would be required to make their properties available to tenants for free, under temporary terms. Both parties would understand that the arrangement can be terminated if a permanent lease is taken up or the venture is unsuccessful.

Partnership co-ordinator Louise Shepherd said a minimum of five properties would be “activated” as part of the first phase of the project. She explained that the plan is to keep otherwise empty premises maintained and to bring more foot traffic to the area, particularly during the daytime hours.

Back in May, Kings Cross business owners predicted a downturn for the area in the wake of the lockout laws. According to The Daily Telegraph, Kings Cross Liquor Accord chief Doug Grand said businesses were facing “a downturn not seen in 50 years” that will leave the area “decimated.”

The news comes as the latest in a series of twists for the Sydney lockout laws, as the “Newcastle model” of late-night lockouts was credited as the main inspiration for the rollout of lockouts in Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross, according to a February report by the Sydney Morning Herald.

In addition to an increase in pedestrians being hit by cars, earlier this month Music Feeds reported on the spike in “illegal” underground warehouse parties since the Sydney lockout laws came into place. Locals have called the increase in such parties a “renaissance” for the scene.

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