King Street

King Street village is widely regarded as one of the most culturally diverse dining precincts in Sydney with over 180 food and drink establishments. The village contains a wide range of establishments from cafés, restaurants, bars and pubs attractive to university students to professionals.

King Street village is also renowned for its eclectic mix of retailers targeted to alternative tastes. 

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Employing businesses by type and size

Table 2 displays data from the City of Sydney's Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 (FES) and shows the number of employing businesses within King Street village, broken up by city-based industry sector and size (number of employees).

In 2012, there were 769 businesses within King Street village. As evident within the table, King Street village is dominated by business in the food and drink, and retail and personal services sectors, which make up just over 40% of all businesses. The majority of these businesses are located along King Street, which is a major dining and shopping strip. Other significant industries within this village include higher education and research (8%) and health (7%).

The table also shows that this village is dominated by smaller businesses, with very small businesses (1 to 4 employees) and small businesses (5 to 19 employees) each making up 43% of all businesses.

In the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, the number of businesses in the King Street village increased by 7.9%. The largest sectoral increase to net business numbers occurred in the food and drink sector, followed by the tourist, culture and leisure sector.

Table 2 – Number of Employing Businesses by Size, 2012

Sector Very Small(1–4) Small (5–19) Medium (20–199) Large (200+) Total Total (%)
Community 2 9 4 0 15 2.0%
Creative Industries 20 20 5 1 46 6.0%
Finance & Financial Services 1 7 0 0 8 1.0%
Food & Drink 90 88 5 0 183 23.8%
Government 3 1 4 0 8 1.0%
Health 17 20 9 4 50 6.5%
Higher Education & Research 11 12 27 13 63 8.2%
ICT 5 11 0 0 16 2.1%
Life Science (Bio-Tech) 4 3 0 0 7 0.9%
Manufacturing 3 6 3 0 12 1.6%
Motor Vehicle 5 10 0 0 15 2.0%
Natural Resource-Based Industries 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Professional & Business Services 17 15 4 2 38 4.9%
Property Development & Operation 11 17 2 0 30 3.9%
Retail & Personal Services 96 49 1 0 146 19.0%
Social Capital 15 28 3 0 46 6.0%
Tourist, Cultural & Leisure 20 20 9 0 49 6.4%
Transport & Logistics 13 18 4 1 36 4.7%
Utilities 0 1 0 0 1 0.1%
Total 333 335 80 21 769 100.0%

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

Food and drink

In recent years, King Street village has seen an increase in floor space dedicated to the restaurant/eating category, as measured by the FES. King Street is a well-established dining precinct and is a popular destination for new restaurants to open up and leverage the reputation of the area.

In 2012, the restaurant/eating category accounted for 32,049 sqm of internal floor space. This represents a 7.5% increase on 2007 figures. In addition to the increased floor space, the restaurant/eating space use division also saw an increase in the number of employees between 2007 and 2012, increasing by 182 employees to 1,078 employees by 2012.

Table 3 – Restaurant/Eating Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 29,825 32,049
% of Total Floor Area 3.6% 3.7%
Employees 896 1,078
% of Total Employment 6.8% 6.1%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

In the 5 year period from 2007 to 2012, the number of restaurant establishments in the village increased from 62 to 79, which resulted in an increase of approximately 12.1% in the number of restaurant seats. However, during the same period, the number of café/coffee lounge seating declined by 5.8% despite a net increase of 3 establishments.

Table 4 – Restaurant/Eating Capacity Measures

2007 2012 % Change 2007-2012
Restaurant Seating 4,044 4,534 12.1%
Café/Coffee Lounge Seating 1,138 1,072 -5.8%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

As shown in Figure 5, restaurant and café floor space within the village is centred within the University of Sydney due to the significant number of food vendors on campus. Other areas offering food and drink options include along King Street in Newtown and Erskineville Road.

Figure 5 – Restaurant Floor Space

Figure 5 – Restaurant Floorspace


As shown in Table 5, in the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, the amount of shop/showroom floor space decreased slightly by around 4%. However, over this same time period the number of retail employees increased by 197, or 34%. This shows that there has been a significant intensification of use in the remaining retail floor space.

Table 5 – Shop/Showroom Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 37,903 36,401
% of Total Floor Area 4.6% 4.1%
Employees 573 770
% of Total Employment 4.4% 4.4%

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

As shown in Figure 6, the greater densities of shop/showroom floor space can be observed in the following areas:

  • strip retail along King Street in Newtown
  • in Alexandria along Euston Road
  • University of Sydney and along Parramatta Road.

Figure 6 – Shop/Showroom Floor Space

Figure 6 – Shop/Showroom Floorspace


Over the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, the King Street village saw an increase in office floor space from 337,220 sqm to 371,789 sqm, an increase of 34,569 sqm or 10.3%. This was the largest increase in floor space across all space uses within the village, however this growth was driven by the increase of specialised office space within The University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

In addition to the increase in office floor space, there has also been an increase in the number of employees working in office spaces across the 5 year period, increasing by 2,359 employees or 22.9%. The higher employment growth reflects the increased employment density within office buildings as a result of open planned offices, and not from new office space being developed.

Office employment accounts for over 70% of total employment in the village, capturing the majority of employment within The University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Despite the increase in employment over the past 5 years the proportion of total employment has declined by 6.7 % over the period.

Table 6 – Office Floor Space and Employment

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 337,220 371,789
% of Total Floor Area 16.0% 17.1%
Employees 10,297 12,656
% of Total Employment 78.7% 72.0%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

As illustrated in Figure 7 the majority of office floor space in King Street village is located to the north of the village around The University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The map also shows concentrations of office floor space along King Street with smaller tenancies and office space located within the more industrial areas of Erskineville and Alexandria.

Figure 7 – Office Floor Space

Figure 7 – Office Floorspace


Recent trends have shown the steady decline in industrial floor space within King Street village, as the space is converted to alternate uses such as bulky goods and mixed-use developments. Traditional industrial areas in Erskineville and Alexandria have faced increasing competition from new industrial estates in western Sydney that boast lower costs and improved access to transport infrastructure.

The industrial space use division recorded a loss of floor space between 2007 and 2012. According to the FES, the amount of industrial floor space reduced by 4,300 sqm over the 5 year period, decreasing the overall share of total floor space by 0.3%. However, the number of employees associated with the industrial category increased by 114 between 2007 and 2012. The increase in the number of employees resulted in a greater intensification in employment density for the remaining industrial floor space, as the lower density operations moved to outer areas of Sydney.

Table 7 – Industrial Floor Space and Employment

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 53,953 49,615
% of Total Floor Area 2.6% 2.3%
Employees 417 531
% of Total Employment 3.2% 3.0%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

As Figure 8 shows, the majority of industrial floor space within the village is located in:

  • Erskineville industrial precinct bounded by Ashmore Street in the north, Mitchell Street in the east, Coulson Street in the south and the railway line in the west, however this precinct is expected to decline due to the development of the Ashmore precinct as a new neighbourhood.
  • Camperdown within The University of Sydney campus and adjacent to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital . It must be noted that the industrial space use includes both traditional industrial space as well as scientific laboratories, resulting in a high level of this space use in these areas.

Figure 8 – Industrial Floor Space

Figure 8 – 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, clustering together with similar business can be attractive as it can create benefits through the sharing of ideas and the creation of a destination. King Street is an example of a large number of restaurants, bars and pubs locating together and creating a vibrant dining and bar scene that attracts visitors from throughout Sydney.

The decline in the industrial sector around Erskineville and Alexandria will also create opportunities for businesses as transitional industrial land uses are replaced by mixed use, office and residential developments.


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