Though we’ve known about the closure and the renovation for some time, the stark reality has finally hit. The Surry Hills Shopping Mall (formerly known as The Refern Mall), and variously known as “The Methadone Mall” or “The Fruit & Nut Mall” is closing on January 10. Over the next couple of years, they’ll be building a new facility that will include both shopping and apartments.
A few friends and I have been discussing this via email today.
One friend wrote: “My mother-in-law lives very close by, she’s genuinely upset…. I said I’d take to an alternative, but proximity seems to pull on the heartstrings”.
Another wrote : “It makes me a bit cranky on a few levels. After the year we’ve all had, another annoyance. “Community” precinct indeed. Have you checked out the flashy posters on the side of the building? No room for non-Anglos or non-beautiful people it seems. This changes so much for us. We won’t be walking to shops will have to drive, etc…I think completion will take two or so years I was told.”
Still another: “A bright new shiny shopping precinct… that I bet won’t be as accepting of the diversity of people that frequent this current building. I wonder what the other business inside this complex (e.g. newspaper shop, fruit shop, cafe etc) will do? Will their lease run out? Will they get an option to come back to the new and improved centre? I can’t see that happening… It will certainly be disruptive in the interim period for locals, in terms of proximity to a supermarket. Yes, the Green Square Coles or Bourke St Woollies, likely to be the next best option.”
And one more: ” I also saw the sign yesterday and it was very distressing. Inconvenient for us but even more so for the elderly and people with disabilities etc. It’s good they’re running a shuttle bus but for some, even that won’t help. I asked the newsagent what he will do and he said he has no idea. I doubt most businesses will be chosen to come back as they’ll no doubt settle into their new location. For example, I know Blooms will stay in Crown Street.
It’s like one more nail in the coffin of diversity.”
On Twitter, a friend joked: “I won’t believe until I see the Harris Farm signage” which was a reference to the “gentrification” of the area.
I went for a walk down the street today and spoke to a few of the shop owners.
I also spoke to the news agency, and he told me he would like to re-open locally, but it would take a couple of months.
A few of the other shops are relocating to Crown Street.
“Noodle Star is locating to opposite Westpac on Crown”, one of my friends told me. “The key cutter place is going to Randwick”, she added.
“I think something like Maloneys (but cheaper) would do really week at this end of Crown St when Coles goes”, one friend wrote. Another I spoke to down the street and I both agreed, there’s definitely room for a combined convenience and fruit and vegetable stop for the daily things like milk and bread etc.