Haymarket / Chinatown Economic Study

City of Sydney Council

Competitive Assessment

The area in and around Chinatown/ Haymarket is going through significant change and development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the precinct, especially businesses largely reliant on international students, migrants, tourists and city workers. The drop in the number of visitors has seen a number of businesses close and vacancy rates rise.

Chinatown/ Haymarket was already facing headwinds prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The completion of the George St Light Rail (and consequent changes to the road network) and the compelling offer at Darling Quarter are among factors that have reduced the reasons for visitation to Chinatown. The pedestrianisation of Sussex Street (in front of Market Street) and the inability of cars on George Street to turn onto Sussex Street have contributed to difficulty of access.

Asian populations, businesses and capital have transcended the traditional spatial boundary of Chinatown/ Haymarket and the emergence of Chinatowns in other suburbs has occurred, for example Burwood and Hurstville. These have cumulatively contributed to evolution of the character and role of Chinatown/ Haymarket.

What we did

Atlas led a multi-disciplinary team to consider the changes and trends at play, understand the changing role, character and function of Chinatown/ Haymarket. This examined:

  • The nature, strength and extent of the trading catchment (who the customers are, their spending ability).
  • What/ how much retail and non-retail activity is viably supported in the area.

The study sought to uncover opportunities for Chinatown to ‘reinvent itself’ in the context of structural changes that have occurred over the last 5-10 years, including new and attractive precincts elsewhere competing for trade.

The outcome

The Study informed the City’s Haymarket and Chinatown Revitalisation Strategy which foreshadows a suite of initiatives including:

  • Renewing Chinatown’s historic heart, including facade and shopfront improvements and food preparation in shopfronts to create a bit of street theatre
  • Adapting planning rules to encourage cultural expression, while preserving history
  • Improving the streetscape and public spaces
  • Adding life through a dynamic calendar of events
  • Facilitating cooperation between local champions

The strategy also calls for the revitalisation of Paddy’s Market to be a centerpoint of commerce, focused on East Asian food and produce.

Council considered the Haymarket and Chinatown Revitalisation Strategy at its recent meeting and has approved it for public exhibition later in the year.

chinese lanterns in market city,chinatown,sydney