Driving opportunities through real estate

Access to affordable creative studio space can bolster a career and release the financial shackles for a creative, and The City of Sydney is calling for candidates.
Driving opportunities through real estate

Green screen location up for offer; courtesy The City of Sydney

Remember how good it felt to get handed the keys to your first car, and the freedom it represented?

Well, the City of Sydney is looking to hand the keys to a creative organisation or producer to drive new opportunities from a base in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.

This is much more than the kind of leg-up a studio offers an individual artist or designer. Rather, the City’s latest offering has a kind of start up or incubator quality to it – move in, innovate, collaborate and make that film, or launch that festival – all deliverable within a rental agreement for a little over a year.

How to get the keys

There has been a global trend in recent years for cities to become more culturally responsible, and to offer designers, artists and creatives diverse ways in which to immerse themselves within the broader footprint of a city. 

Key to that level of creative engagement is a new tone of partnership that looks towards innovative ways of utilising city assets. Buildings are the most obvious.

The City of Sydney has been at the forefront of such partnerships nationally, through its Accommodation Grants Program and other Creative Spaces Programs.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore confirmed: ‘Our accommodation grants program currently supports 67 organisations across 44 City-managed sites, including artist cooperatives, community services, education programs and childcare services.’

‘Opening up City owned property gives community groups and creative enterprises space they couldn’t otherwise afford to work on projects that enhance the vibrancy of our city,’ she continued.

The City is again expanding that definition with the offer of an expansive multi-function workspace / project headquarters in the Paddington Town Hall complex.

A city representative said the studio opportunity was not just about providing a physical space but rather about enabling ideas. ‘As we are seeking applications from cultural organisations with a lease time of approximately 15 months, we are broadly open to cultural projects and culturally orientated ideas to activate the space in a meaningful way, instead of an organisation moving their offices.’

‘This makes it a unique and genuine opportunity for unorthodox projects to obtain some very interesting and valuable accommodation,’ they added.

Image courtesy City of Sydney

What’s on offer

663-square metres (or part thereof) is up for grabs. That is a lot of space for a big idea.

‘Given the existing infrastructure such as the green screen and film editing suites, organisations and groups who work in film, video, writing for film production, festivals and events, or projects who work with these groups may be particularly interested in considering an application,’ said the City’s representative.

‘We are open to being surprised by the kinds of applications we receive as the premises is ripe for a unique cultural project/s to activate the entirety space,’ they added.

This property is different from other accommodation grants offered by The City of Sydney in that it is facility rich. Over the two levels the successful candidate will have access to:

  • 1 lockable Green Screen Studio with upper floor editing suite
  • 2 lockable classrooms
  • 3 lockable offices, 1 which is accessible from own entrance
  • 1 open large shared office space 
  • 1 lockable meeting room which is accessible without entering the full premises
  • 1 lockable darkroom or storage space
  • A reception area with adjoining waiting or meeting area
  • Change room area

Register to check it out

Paddington Town Hall is located at 247 Oxford Street, and the tenancy is part of a larger complex that includes a large public hall, a library, the Chauvel cinema and Eastside Radio.


Image courtesy City of Sydney

Sound right for you?

‘This is a great opportunity for enthusiastic and creative minds to contribute to the local community through creative initiatives that encourage community development,’ encouraged the Lord Mayor.

To get a look in you should have a thorough management plan for delivering the proposed service, and have a sound financial plan with guaranteed income.

Successful candidates must demonstrate how their project plan will utilise all areas of the premises and deliver cultural outcomes.

Proposals will also be considered for sharing of space, with the lead organisation directly managing the multiple entities.

But like the love of that first car, this is a finite relationship. The successful applicants will be able to move into the property in late 2016, but will also have to demonstrate in their proposal their plan to exit the premises at the end of the lease period expiring on 31 January 2018.

The property will be open for guided viewings on the morning of 5 July and afternoon of 14 July, and prospective applicants must pre-register. Information regarding the property viewings and application process can be found from 27 June at cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For more information about this property and to learn more about the City of Sydney’s Accommodation Grants Program visit cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

Applications close at 5pm on Monday, 25 July 2016.

No image supplied

Gina Fairley

Monday 27 June, 2016

About the author

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW.

Twitter: @ginafairley
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