Businesses

Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo

Thanks to Kings Cross, Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo is arguably Sydney’s most famous entertainment precinct.

Aside from the nightclub strip focused around Darlinghurst Road, a thriving café and restaurant culture has developed along Macleay Street in Potts Point.

There are also concentrated areas of office and industrial space within the village, with these land uses predominantly focused along William Street. Garden Island is also the location of a large naval base.

With a total of 819 businesses in the village, Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo has one of the lowest concentrations of business in the City of Sydney. This is also true if business activity is measured by the total amount of floor space. However what village businesses lack in size, they make up for in stature.

Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo is home to some of Sydney’s most famous nightspots and most popular new cafés and restaurants.

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Employing businesses by type and size

Table 2 displays data on the number of employing businesses in the village as determined by the City of Sydney's Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 (FES). This table breaks up businesses into city-based industry sectors and size (as measured by number of employees). 

In 2012, businesses in Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo village employed 11.6 workers on average across all city-based industry sectors and there were a total of 819 businesses within the village across 16 different industry sectors.

Food and drink was the largest industry sector within the village, representing nearly 26% of all businesses. This supports the notion that the cafés, restaurants and nightclubs of Potts Point and Kings Cross are the driving force of the village economy.

Other significant industries within this village in terms of the number of businesses include retail and personal services (15.0%) and tourist, cultural and leisure (14.4%).

The number of businesses in Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo village increased by 8.6% between 2007 and 2012. Only 9 of the 19 city-based industry sectors experienced a net increase over this time, however those that did not increase tended to have a small representation in the village.

The largest sectoral increase occurred in the food and drink sector, with an additional 51 businesses over the 5 year period.

Table 2 – Number of Businesses by Size, 2012

Sector Very Small (1–4) Small (5–19) Medium (20–199) Large (200+) Total Total (%)
Community 0 4 5 0 9 1.1%
Creative Industries 26 23 11 0 60 7.3%
Finance & Financial Services 11 16 1 0 28 3.4%
Food & Drink 118 77 16 0 211 25.8%
Government 9 10 17 2 38 4.6%
Health 14 10 2 3 29 3.5%
Higher Education & Research 3 0 0 0 3 0.4%
ICT 6 4 2 0 12 1.5%
Life Science (Bio-Tech) 2 5 0 0 7 0.9%
Manufacturing 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Motor Vehicle 4 8 1 0 13 1.6%
Natural Resource-Based Industries 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Professional & Business Services 26 41 10 0 77 9.4%
Property Development & Operation 8 17 0 0 25 3.1%
Retail & Personal Services 101 22 0 0 123 15.0%
Social Capital 20 28 3 0 51 6.2%
Tourist, Cultural & Leisure 45 50 23 0 118 14.4%
Transport & Logistics 4 8 3 0 15 1.8%
Utilities 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Total 397 323 94 5 819 100.0%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Food and beverage

The village has significant pockets of restaurant/eating floor space distributed throughout Kings Cross, Potts Point and at Finger Wharf. As shown in Table 3, between 2007 and 2012, the village saw an increase in restaurant/eating floor space of nearly 6,400 sqm, an increase of 18.4%.

The restaurant/eating space use division held the second highest number of workers within the village in 2012, with 1,857 associated with this space use. This has grown substantially in the percentage share of total employment from 15.7% in 2007 to 19.5% of total employment by 2012, due to the emergence of more cafés and restaurants.

Table 3 – Restaurant/Eating Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 34,802 41,200
% of Total Floor Area 1.6% 1.8%
Employees 1,515 1,857
% of Total Employment 15.7% 19.5%

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

In the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, the number of restaurant establishments increased by 32%, from 56 to 74 establishments. This resulted in the number of restaurant seats in the village increasing by approximately 21%. Additionally, the number of café establishments rose by 22% from 46 to 56 over the same period, and the number of café seats increased by nearly 27%. This highlights the increased number of seats per establishment in cafés as owners try to make the most of their space and cater for the strong demand they are experiencing at present.

Table 4 – Restaurant/Eating Capacity Measures

2007 2012 % Change2007-2012
Restaurant Seating 3,926 4,744 20.8%
Café/Coffee Lounge Seating 925 1,170 26.5%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Figure 5 shows the concentrations of restaurant floor space across the village. It shows that the main concentration is in Kings Cross on Darlinghurst Road and in Potts Point along Macleay Street. Finger Wharf also contains a significant supply of restaurant floor space and there are isolated pockets along the northern side of William Street.

Figure 5 – Restaurant Floor Space

Figure 5 – Restaurant Floorspace

Retail

Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo has small but concentrated areas of retail businesses spread across the village. The shop/showroom space use category captured in the FES provides an indicator of the trends in the sector over the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012.

The results from the survey show that total shop/showroom floor space has remained essentially unchanged between 2007 and 2012 (see Table 5). The number of employees has increased by 1.4% over the period, which indicates the intensification of floor space use within the village.

Table 5 – Shop/Showroom Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 28,400 28,662
% of Total Floor Area 1.3% 1.3%
Employees 635 757
% of Total Employment 6.6% 8.0%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

The shop and showroom floor space in the village tends to be concentrated in small pockets, as illustrated in Figure 6. The majority of retail activity is present along Darlinghurst Road and northwards along Macleay Street. There is also additional retail activity along William Street to the west and near the intersection with Darlinghurst Road.

Figure 6 – Shop/Showroom Floor Space

Figure 6 – Shop/Showroom Floorspace

Entertainment/Leisure

As shown in Table 6, in the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, space dedicated to entertainment/leisure reduced by 2,300 sqm, marginally reducing the share of the total floor area within the village.

Despite the reduction in floor space, the entertainment/leisure space use division within the village saw the number of employees working within this space increase by 57%. This highlights the intensification of floor space use, as operators seek to use their space more efficiently.

Table 6 – Entertainment/Leisure Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 34,939 32,596
% of Total Floor Area 1.6% 1.5%
Employees 202 317
% of Total Employment 2.1% 3.3%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

The majority of the entertainment floor space is focused along Darlinghurst Road and Macleay Street, starting in Kings Cross and leading into Potts Point. Figure 7 also shows concentrations of entertainment floor space around Cathedral Street in the western portion of the village and around Roslyn Gardens in the eastern portion.

Figure 7 – Entertainment/Leisure Floor Space

Figure 7 – Entertainment/Leisure Floorspace

Office

The total amount of office floor space in the village is the second lowest of the 10 villages within the City of Sydney. Despite this, Table 7 shows that there has been an increase in office floor space of over 11,000 sqm between 2007 and 2012.

The office space use division is associated with the highest number of workers within Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo, employing 5,641 people in 2012. This number represents a decline of nearly 1,000 workers compared to the 2007 survey.

Table 7 – Office Floor Space and Employment

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sq.m) 196,105 207,197
% of Total Floor Area 8.8% 9.2%
Employees 6,613 5,641
% of Total Employment 68.7% 59.3%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

As shown in Figure 8, the most significant provisions of office floor space within Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo village is at Garden Island in the northernmost section of the village. This area is currently occupied by the Royal Australian Navy and Thales, and has limited applicability to most commercial businesses. A core of office floor space is also located along the northern side of William Street in Woolloomooloo, and pockets are evident throughout Kings Cross and Potts Point.

Figure 8 – Office Floor Space

Figure 8 – Office Floorspace

Industrial

Industrial floor space within the village has remained fairly consistent over the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012 (Table 8). This is largely due to the presence of Garden Island, which has a large amount of industrial floor space dedicated to supporting naval activities.

Interestingly, the number of workers associated with industrial land uses has almost doubled over the 2007 to 2012 period, however this space use still accounts for a small portion of total employment.

Table 8 – Industrial Floor Space and Employment

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 44,597 45,759
% of Total Floor Area 2.0% 2.0%
Employees 224 430
% of Total Employment 2.3% 4.5%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

The bulk of the industrial floor space within Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo is located in Garden Island and is associated with the naval base. Figure 9 also shows some industrial floor space in the south-western corner of the village between Cathedral and William streets. This is mainly light industrial space which benefits from its proximity to the city centre and access to the William Street transport corridor.

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 restaurants and cafés in Potts Point are a case in point, as is the bar and nightclub precinct focused around Darlinghurst Road.

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. A detailed competitor analysis can help such businesses avoid the pitfalls of excessive competition.

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