It's a sad day when one of Sydney's most beloved pubs faces destruction in the face of residential developers (not that we don't agree that Sydney needs more housing options, because it does, but that's beside the point). Because when one of the oldest pubs in the Inner-West faces demolishment, you can bet you'll have an angry community to face. This was precisely the case for the shuttered Alexandria Hotel on Henderson Road, a watering hole that's been kicking around since 1870, with the most recent version built in 1934.
After facing the wrecking ball by property developers, who acquired it in 2015, locals campaigned to save 'The Alex' by opposing the site proposal. Even though the City of Sydney council overthrew the development application in support of the community, the developers launched an appeal, resulting a legal tug-of-war between the two. But now the drama has had a resolution, thanks to Merivale purchase of the site, which has been backed by Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
"This is a huge win for the community, and for City staff who were in court fighting for the 80-year-old building to be heritage-listed," says the Lord Mayor. "Historic buildings like this one maintain links to Sydney's past, and fill our streetscapes with unique character."
Merivale's Justin Hemmes, who spearheaded the move, plans to restore the space to its former glory (including its '30s-era front bar) and is calling on local creatives to join in on the refurbishment and submit ideas for the design and feel of the new courtyard. "This hotel has and will always be Alexandria's pub so I want the community to help create the next stage in its vibrant life," says Hemmes. "Whether you're an artist or architect, a sculptor or builder, if you're passionate about design and creating amazing spaces, we want to hear from you." Once Merivale has selected the talent, they will be tasked with working alongside Hemmes and architect Kelvin Ho to develop the design project.
Creatives interested in participating are invited to register their interest at ouralex.com.au