Baron’s Building campaign

In 2005 Council received an application to develop the 124-year old Baron’s building, located at 5-7 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross. The building was to be demolished and replaced with a four-level with a single restaurant at street level and commercial offices above.

The Association opposed this DA on the grounds that it would destroy this heritage building and the surrounding historic streetscape with its small, unique retailers and drinking and eating places, including the beloved Baron’s Restaurant.

Council refused this DA in August 2006. Unfortunately the owner appealed to the Land and Environment Court and Council lost on appeal from the applicant. The building was demolished in November 2007.

Flyer handed out in Save Baron’s campaign, 2006

The streetscape is a harmonious blend of predominantly Victorian with Arts and Crafts features and inter-war Art Deco architectural styles. It sits in Elizabeth Bay Heritage Conservation Area.  Rosyln Street’s vitality is created by a string of small, unique retailers and the people living in its many inter-war residential flat buildings. Upstairs at 5-9 Roslyn Street is one of Sydney legendary institutions, Baron’s, with its late-night, old world ambience. 5-9 Roslyn Street also houses Café Pralinka, Ferarri Trattoria Italian Kitchen and de coco vintage costume jewellery shop with its Juanita Nielson figurehead. Over many decades, council has expanded this little park and extended Kellett Lane to join Roslyn Street, to create a human scaled environment. The views to and across the Piccolo Park will be alienated by the building’s bulk and overshadowing.

The developer, Manawar Pty Ltd, claimed the building made a “neutral” contribution to the Heritage Conservation Area. The developer wants to demolish the building and build a single four-level building (restaurant at street level, basement and three floors of “commercial offices” above). The proposal increases the building height and more than doubles the Floor Space Ratio. Sydney Council Planning Officers recommend approving the demolition! Residents said, the Baron’s building needs to be adapted to modern uses not demolished.

Roslyn Street’s ‘village’ atmosphere is a model for current town planning aspirations. Three years ago, Roslyn Street starred as the subject of the first episode of ABC TV’s Our Street program, which drew on the precinct’s unique Kings Cross bohemian spirit.

Thanks to almost 1,300 people for writing letters, signing the petition and contacting councillors. Save Roslyn Street and the small locally-owned specialty businesses that give the area its texture and quality.

Farewell to Baron’s Building, 5-7 Roslyn St
Date: 5 November 2007
Photo: Roslyn Sharpe

Further reading and viewing:
Streets of Your Town – iView (ABC TV)
Article on Baron’s in Sydney Morning Herald glossy magazine insert….