Keira Street closure: businesses speak out

Mylan restaurant owner Nam Huynh and The Living Room owner George Antoniou have mixed feelings about the proposal to temporarily close Keira Street Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Mylan restaurant owner Nam Huynh and The Living Room owner George Antoniou have mixed feelings about the proposal to temporarily close Keira Street Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Keira Street business owners are split over plans to shut their road, with some saying they will lose money and others hoping to see a jump in foot traffic during the three-month closure.

For Living Room owner George Antoniou, the GPT Group proposal to shut the Wollongong strip between Market and Crown Street was welcome relief.

Pedestrians from Crown Street Mall have been blocked from walking past his bar’s front door for the past few months due to road and footpath works associated with the developer’s $200 million development.

‘‘Closing the road to traffic and bringing the foot traffic back over to this side is only going to be positive because we’ve had no passing traffic,’’ Mr Antoniou said.

‘‘And if it’s going to help GPT finish the job quicker, I’m in favour of that - the quicker the better because the construction noise and other disruptions are getting too much.’’

Mylan restaurant’s Nam Huynh said she has reservations about the street closure drawing out longer than planned, and said her take-away business would be affected due to the loss of short-term car parking out the front.

‘‘What can we do? I will still have a business, but we’ve already lost a quarter of our business and I think we will lose more,’’ she said.

‘‘I want it to be finished quickly.’’ 

GPT’s development manager Steven Turner said he had been expecting to hear diverse views from business owners and would continue working to address their issues in the coming weeks.

‘‘We have to acknowledge that it’s difficult at the moment, but that it has the potential to be quite a bit better during and after the road closure,’’ he said.

He added that GPT would work with shops and restaurants in groups or individually to make sure there was minimal impact on their businesses, but said he would stop short of offering monetary compensation.

‘‘We’re not sitting here with a chequebook, because I think that would be a failure of our first process, which is to do everything we can to make sure they don’t lose sales,’’ he said.

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