Redfern Street

Redfern Street village has experienced significant business activity growth in recent years due to the focus on renewing and redeveloping the area.

Much of the industrial land in the village has been converted to make way for other uses, with creative industries emerging as one of the most common business types and strengthening its role as a crucial component in Redfern’s business offer.

In addition to this, the growth in higher income residents has supported businesses in industries such as food and drink and retail and personal services.

Some of the most significant areas within the village in terms of business activity include Australian Technology Park, Carriageworks and The University of Sydney. 

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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). It shows the number of employing businesses within Redfern Street village, broken up by their city-based industry sector and size in terms of number of employees.

Redfern Street village had 1,068 businesses in 2012, with the majority of these businesses being very small (1 to 4 employees) and small (5 to 19 employees). The largest single proportion was taken up by very small businesses, which made up 52% of all businesses, compared to the City of Sydney local area average of 41%.

In terms of the largest industry sectors, creative industries had the highest number of businesses, accounting for 16.1% of the village total and representing a crucial component of Redfern’s business offer with further development expected.

This was followed by the food and drink industry, which made up 14.9% of all businesses. Worth noting is the fact that these 2 industries are dominated by smaller businesses.

Other significant industries in terms of number of businesses included professional and business services and retail and personal services, both accounting for 12.0% of total businesses.

In the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012, the number of businesses in Redfern Street village increased from 945 to 1,068 businesses, representing a 13.0% increase. When considering net increases by industry sector, the largest increase occurred in the professional and business services industry, with a net increase of 60 businesses over the period. A significant increase was also observed in the creative industries sector which saw 47 additional businesses between 2007 and 2012.

Table 2 – Number of Businesses by Size, 2012

Sector Very Small (1–4) Small (5–19) Medium (20–199) Large (200+) Total Total (%)
Community 2 5 6 1 14 1.3%
Creative Industries 83 70 18 1 172 16.1%
Finance & Financial Services 6 7 0 0 13 1.2%
Food & Drink 119 34 3 0 156 14.6%
Government 1 5 6 2 14 1.3%
Health 17 20 3 0 40 3.7%
Higher Education & Research 16 27 20 6 69 6.5%
ICT 23 28 10 1 62 5.8%
Life Science (Bio-Tech) 6 3 1 0 10 0.9%
Manufacturing 13 14 1 0 28 2.6%
Motor Vehicle 13 10 1 0 24 2.2%
Natural Resource-Based Industries 0 0 0 0 0 0.0%
Professional & Business Services 59 46 22 1 128 12.0%
Property Development & Operation 8 7 2 0 17 1.6%
Retail & Personal Services 106 22 0 0 128 12.0%
Social Capital 24 24 14 0 62 5.8%
Tourist, Cultural & Leisure 27 36 6 1 70 6.6%
Transport & Logistics 29 19 9 3 60 5.6%
Utilities 1 0 0 0 1 0.1%
Total 553 377 122 16 1,068 100.0%

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

Food and drink

Redfern Street village has a significant residential population with growing incomes, which has provided a customer base for food and drink businesses. Further residential development within the area, in addition to the urban renewal occurring is likely to provide further support for food and drink businesses.

Table 3 shows that in 2012, the restaurant/eating space use accounted for 32,011 sqm of floor space. This represented an increase of 10% from the 2007 level. In addition to the increase in floor space, the sector also saw a 23% increase in the total number of workers associated with this type of space use.

Table 3 – Restaurant/Eating Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 29,120 32,011
% of Total Floor Area 1.2% 1.3%
Employees 769 944
% of Total Employment 6.0% 5.5%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Between 2007 and 2012, the number of restaurant establishments rose from 20 to 30, resulting in a 36.6% increase in restaurant seating, as shown in Table 4. The number of café establishments also rose from 44 to 58, resulting in a significant 59.9% increase in café seating.

Table 4 – Restaurant/Eating Capacity Measures

2007 2012 % Change 2007-2012
Restaurant Seating 1,731 2,364 36.6%
Café / Coffee Lounge Seating 901 1,441 59.9%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

As illustrated in Figure 5, restaurant/eating floor space is spread fairly thinly across the village, with significant pockets located at Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh and within The University of Sydney. There is also a cluster of restaurant floor space near Central railway station in the north-western corner of the village.

Figure 5 – Restaurant Floor Space

Figure 5 – Restaurant Floorspace  


The shop/showroom space use category captured in the FES provides an indication of the amount of retail activity within the village. As shown in Table 5, in the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012 Redfern Street village saw the supply of this type of floor space decrease slightly, by 2,000 sqm or 4%. Despite the decrease in floor space, the total of number of employees within the shop/showroom space use division increased slightly.

Table 5 – Shop/Showroom Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 47,315 45,441
% of Total Floor Area 1.9% 1.8%
Employees 509 541
% of Total Employment 4.0% 3.1%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Figure 6 highlights the location of shop/showroom floor space across Redfern Street village. As shown in the figure, the majority of the retail floor space extends from Central railway station to the south of the village primarily along Regent Street and Botany Road. In addition to this, significant amounts of retail floor space are located at Australian Technology Park, Carriageworks in Redfern and in the south-eastern corner of the village along Morehead Street.

Figure 6 – Shop/Showroom Floor Space

Figure 6 – Shop/Showroom Floorspace  


A broad range of entertainment and leisure businesses within the village are supported by the culturally and ethnically diverse residents, as well as visitors from outside the village.

As shown in Table 6, between 2007 and 2012, entertainment/leisure floor space in the village increased by over 13,000 sqm. This represents a 28.4% increase, which was the largest percentage change of any space use within Redfern Street village. The 59,404 sqm of entertainment/leisure space represented the fifth largest supply of all 10 villages, and 7% of the total City of Sydney local area supply. Much of the new space comes as a result of the adaptive reuse of older buildings, particularly former industrial properties.

Along with the substantial increase in floor space, the entertainment and leisure space use also saw an increase in the total number of employees, however the percentage share of total employment remained relatively unchanged at 1% of total employment.

Table 6 – Entertainment/Leisure Floor Space and Employees

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sq.m) 46,256 59,404
% of Total Floor Area 1.8% 2.3%
Employees 126 178
% of Total Employment 1.0% 1.0%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Figure 7 shows that the largest concentrations of entertainment and leisure floor space within the village are located at Australian Technology Park, Carriageworks and at the University of Sydney. Other noticeable pockets of floor space are situated at Central railway station and extending south along Botany Road and George Street.

Figure 7 – Entertainment/Leisure Floor Space

Figure 7 – Entertainment/Leisure Floorspace  


Its central location and accessibility to public transport infrastructure have supported Redfern Street village as an attractive area for office businesses. The office space use division is the second largest division in the village behind residential, and it employs a considerable majority of workers.

As shown in Table 7, office floor space within the village increased by 22% between 2007 and 2012, which was the second-highest percentage increase in floor space across all categories.

Office businesses also saw a significant increase in the total number of workers, increasing by nearly 3,800 workers, or 38%. With 81.8% of the employment in the village in office businesses, Redfern Street village is only second to the city centre in terms of the office percentage share of total employment.

Table 7 – Office Floor Space and Employment

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 322,507 392,974
% of Total Floor Area 12.8% 15.4%
Employees 10,335 14,131
% of Total Employment 80.7% 81.8%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Figure 8 displays the distribution of office floor space throughout the village. The location of floor space is influenced by the location of train stations within and near the village. There are concentrations of office space near Central railway station and extending along Cleveland Street as well as near Redfern railway station at Australian Technology Park and The University of Sydney. Australian Technology Park is occupied predominantly by creative and ICT industries whereas The University of Sydney contains significant office floor space related to higher education and research. To the south of Central railway station, the land between Botany Road and Chalmers Street also has significant blocks of office floor space, including Australia Post state headquarters within the Prince Alfred Park building.

Figure 8 – Office Floor Space

Figure 8 – Office Floorspace  


Redfern Street village has seen a dramatic reduction in industrial floor space in recent years as the presence of light manufacturing dwindles and the space is adapted for residential and office uses.

As shown in Table 8, between 2007 and 2012 industrial floor space decreased by just over 98,000 sqm, or 65%. As a result, the proportion of total floor area in industrial declined significantly, with this space use making up just 2% of the total floor area in 2012.

Despite the significant decrease in industrial floor space within the village, the total employment number dropped by a smaller margin, suggesting that those industries which remain are more intensive users of floor space.

Table 8 – Industrial Floor Space and Employment

2007 2012
Internal Floor Space (sqm) 150,164 52,159
% of Total Floor Area 6.0% 2.0%
Employees 603 579
% of Total Employment 4.7% 3.4%
Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Figure 9 shows the distribution of industrial floor space within Redfern Street village. According to the map, there are higher concentrations of industrial floor space within Australian Technology Park, Carriageworks and The University of Sydney. There is also some industrial activity occurring along Botany Road in the south-western quadrant of the village.

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 drink precinct which attracts a large number of visitors – the cafés and restaurants around Redfern Street are 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. A detailed competitor analysis can help such businesses avoid the pitfalls of excessive competition.


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