Businesses

Harris Street

Over the past 2 decades, the focus of Harris Street village has shifted to residential and office based land uses with the conversion of many of the old warehouses and woolstores into offices and apartments.

The village is also a significant cultural, entertainment and education hub with the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), TAFE NSW, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Powerhouse Museum and The Star within its borders.

Harris Street village started off as a place of seafaring and industrial land uses, providing a significant contribution to the early prosperity of colonial Sydney.  

The village experienced a decline in business activity in the post war decades before being revived by the Darling Harbour redevelopment and the City West urban renewal program, transforming the old maritime and industrial community into a vibrant urban village.

Since the revival the village has become a hub for digital technology businesses with major tenants including Google and Fairfax Media, which attract other businesses in similar industries.

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Employing businesses by type and size

Table 3 presents data from the City of Sydney's Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 (FES). It shows the number of employing businesses categorised by their city-based industry sector and size (number of employees).

This village has a fairly high proportion of large businesses compared to other parts of the City of Sydney local area. In 2012, businesses within Harris Street employed an average of 27.76 workers across all city-based industry sectors. Furthermore, the proportion of businesses with less than 20 employees was 82.6%, slightly below the City's local area average of 84.8%.

The largest proportion of businesses in Harris Street was in the food and drink sector, which made up 18.8% of all businesses. This sector has a large number of very small and small businesses with the significant presence of small cafés and restaurants influencing the number of businesses in this sector. 

The second-largest sector was professional and business services, which made up 17.5% of all businesses. This was followed by creative industries, which accounted for 14.6% of businesses.

In the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, the number of businesses in Harris Street village increased by 34%, to 1,024. The largest net growth occurred in the professional and business services sector, 86 more businesses in this sector counted in 2012 than in 2007. Strong growth was also seen in the number of businesses in the food and drink sector, which saw an additional 57 businesses over the period.

The village has also seen strong growth in ICT and digital technology businesses with major tenants such as Google and Fairfax Media. The village is now regarded as a digital technology hub within Sydney, which continues to draw businesses of varying sizes to the precinct.

Table 3 – Number of Employing Businesses by Size, 2012

Sector Very Small (1–4) Small 5–19) Medium(20–199) Large (200+) Total Total (%)
Community 1 5 3 0 9 0.9%
Creative Industries 49 62 32 6 149 14.6%
Finance & Financial Services 24 24 0 1 49 4.8%
Food & Drink 83 83 26 1 193 18.8%
Government 0 0 1 0 1 0.1%
Health 13 16 0 0 29 2.8%
Higher Education & Research 4 8 13 10 35 3.4%
ICT 32 48 8 4 92 9.0%
Life Science (Bio-Tech) 3 4 2 0 9 0.9%
Manufacturing 7 5 2 0 14 1.4%
Motor Vehicle 2 1 0 0 3 0.3%
Natural Resource-Based Industries 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Professional & Business Services 70 78 29 2 179 17.5%
Property Development & Operation 25 25 4 0 54 5.3%
Retail & Personal Services 65 25 3 0 93 9.1%
Social Capital 7 12 1 0 20 2.0%
Tourist, Cultural & Leisure 15 19 21 2 57 5.6%
Transport & Logistics 11 17 7 0 35 3.4%
Utilities 0 3 0 0 3 0.3%
Total 411 435 152 26 1,024 100.0%

Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Food and drink

The growing residential population in Harris Street village along with the tourist and worker market has provided support for an increased number of food and beverage businesses. The village has a number of unique offerings such as the restaurants at The Star, which attract customers from further afield.

As shown in Table 4 in 2012 the restaurant/eating space use division accounted for 47,066 sqm of internal floor space in the village. This was an increase of 16,000 sqm, or 52%, from 2007. Additionally, the number of employees in this space use division in was more than tripled over the 5 years between 2007 and 2012.

Table 4 – Restaurant/Eating Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 30,941 47,066
% of Total Floor Area 1.1% 1.6%
Employees 608 2,040
% of Total Employment 3.1% 7.0%

Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Between 2007 and 2012, the number of restaurants in the village rose from 29 to 62, resulting in a 29.8% increase in the restaurant seating in the village (see Table 5). Over the same 5 year period, the number of cafés increased from 34 to 57, which resulted in growth in café/coffee lounge seating of 70.8%.

Table 5 – Restaurant/Eating Capacity Measures

2007 2012 % Change 2007-2012

Restaurant Seating

4,962 6,439 29.8%
Café/Coffee Lounge Seating 816 1,394 70.8%

Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

As shown in Figure 5, restaurant/eating floor space is concentrated at the northern end of the village, particularly in areas such as The Star, Sydney Fish Markets and Jones Bay Wharf. There are also pockets of restaurant floor space at the southern end of the village focused around the University of Technology, Sydney and TAFE NSW.

Figure 5 - Restaurant Floor Space

Figure 5 - Restaurant Floorspace

Retail

Retail activity in the village is more limited than other areas of the City of Sydney, however the local resident population and visiting tourists have supported some retail activity at key locations such as The Star.

The amount of shop/showroom floor space in the village provides a useful indicator of retail activity. Table 6 shows the amount of shop/showroom floor space in the village in 2007 and 2012 as measured by the Floor Space and Employment Survey. This shows that in 2012 there was 43,786 sqm of this space use within the village, 15% more than in 2007. This space use division also saw the number of employees more than double between 2007 and 2012.

Table 6 – Shop/Showroom Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 38,231 43,786
% of Total Floor Area 1.4% 1.5%
Employees 417 856
% of Total Employment 2.1% 3.0%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Shop/showroom floor space is widely dispersed across Harris Street village, as shown in Figure 6. The highest densities of this space use division were observed in the following areas:

  • Sydney Fish Markets
  • The Star
  • along Pyrmont and Harris streets
  • adjacent to Pyrmont Bay Park
  • to the south-west of Jones Street at the northern end of the village, bordered by Bowman and Banks streets.

Figure 6 – Shop/Showroom Floor Space

Figure 6 – Shop/Showroom Floorspace

Entertainment/Leisure

Harris Street village is home to some of the most significant entertainment and leisure facilities in the City of Sydney, which have benefitted from the village’s central location and high accessibility. Some of the significant facilities within the village include The Star, Powerhouse Museum and Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.

As shown in Table 7, the amount of entertainment/leisure floor space in the village in 2012 was 91,224 sqm. This is a significant provision, representing 11% of the total supply in the City of Sydney. In the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, the amount of entertainment/leisure floor space increased by nearly 26,000 sqm, or 39%. The number of employees in the entertainment/leisure businesses also increased by a significant margin of over 900 employees, or 40%, over the 5 year period.

Table 7 – Entertainment/Leisure Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 65,630 91,224
% of Total Floor Area 2.4% 3.1%
Employees 2,237 3,139
% of Total Employment 11.3% 10.8%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Figure 7 shows the distribution of entertainment/leisure floor space throughout the village in 2012. The highest densities of entertainment and leisure floor space are located at:

  • The Star
  • Powerhouse Museum
  • Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre
  • Pyrmont and Jones bays
  • isolated locations along Harris Street
  • the north-western corner of the village.

Figure 7 – Entertainment/Leisure Floor Space

Figure 7 – Entertainment/Leisure Floorspace

Office

The central location and accessibility of Harris Street village has attracted and maintained numerous office-based businesses within the area. These businesses occupy converted woolstores and warehouses as well as new office buildings.

Table 8 shows the supply of office floor space in the village as determined by the Floor Space and Employment Survey. In 2012, there was 564,155 sqm of internal floor space in the office space use category, which was the fourth-highest of all 10 villages and represented 7% of the total supply in the City of Sydney local area. In the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, office floor space in Harris Street village increased by 37,693 or 7%.

Along with the increase in floor space, office space use division also saw the number of workers associated with this space use increase by 21,554, a 38% increase. Notwithstanding this increase, the share of the village’s total employment decreased by 4.5 percentage points.

Table 8 – Office Floorspace and Employment

2007 2012
Internal Floorspace (sq.m) 526,462 564,155
% of Total Floor Area 19.4% 19.1%
Employees 15,650 21,554
% of Total Employment 78.8% 74.3%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Figure 8 shows that office floor space is widely distributed across Harris Street village. The highest concentrations of office floor space are located in the following areas:

  • at the northern end of the village around Jones and Pyrmont bays and The Star
  • in the north-western corner of the village, to the north of Bowman Street and to the west of Jones Street
  • at the tertiary education institutions in the southern end of the village, including the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and TAFE NSW.

Figure 8 – Office Floor Space

Figure 8 – Office Floorspace

Industrial

Harris Street village greatly supported the early prosperity of colonial Sydney with its beginnings in seafaring and industry. As the area underwent significant renewal and redevelopment it transformed away from industry and today has a stronger focus on office and residential land uses.

The amount of industrial floor space remaining in the village is summarised in Table 9. In 2012, there was 50,195 sqm of internal floor space dedicated to this space use. This represented the third-highest provision of all 10 villages, however it should be noted that much of this space is taken up in areas that are not traditionally associated with industrial floor space and manufacturing, such as laboratories at UTS and television production studios at the ABC in Ultimo.

Between 2007 and 2012, industrial floor space in the village declined marginally by around 2,000 sqm, or 4%. Interestingly, despite this significant decrease in industrial floor space, there was a 31% increase in the employment associated with this land use.

Table 9 – Industrial Floor Space and Employment

2007 2012

Internal Floor Space (sqm)

52,217 50,195

% of Total Floor Area

1.9% 1.7%

Employees

599 783

% of Total Employment

3.0% 2.7%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

As shown in Figure 9, locations with the greatest amount of industrial floor space are:

  • The Star
  • Darling Island in the north-east of the village, between Jones and Pyrmont bays
  • University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Powerhouse Museum
  • Sydney Fish Markets
  • the area bound by Jones, Bowman and Bank streets.

Figure 9 – Industrial Floor Space

Figure 9 – Industrial Floorspace

What does this mean for my business?

This section can assist both existing businesses and those considering locating in the village in identifying the presence of competing and/or complementary businesses.

For some businesses, the presence of complementary businesses can be an important factor in deciding location due to the benefits of ‘agglomeration economies’. For instance, restaurants and cafés tend to cluster together due to the advantages of being located in a food and beverage precinct which attracts a large number of visitors – the cluster of bars and restaurants in and around The Star is one such example.

Conversely, other types of business may prefer to locate far away from competitive business. Examples here would include supermarkets and cinemas, businesses which benefit from a captive market. Analysis of current space use patterns within the village may be useful in identifying potential opportunities.

Disclaimer

This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, 16 June 2015