An Open Letter to the Developers of Young Henrys on Devonshire Street
I'm an enthusiastic supporter of boutique breweries and artisan beer; unfortunately I'm also one of the residents in Surry Hills likely to be the most affected by your plans for Young Henrys.
My wife and I live in a house my father and I renovated over a period of approximately seven years, finishing only two years ago, and we have worked hard to make it a home. Our neighbours are largely families with children, or elderly residents who have lived here for many years.
To characterise the neighbourhood surrounding the proposed site for your new micro-brewery; it is primarily residential, complemented by a public school just around the corner, 1 small cafe/restaurant, a bakery, and some retail & art galleries. There are also a couple of small pubs, though they are a few blocks away and their foot traffic is limited to Crown Street and Cleveland Street; and there is a tiny wine bar which operates under incredibly tight restrictions. These few commercial properties in the immediate neighbourhood have operated for many years.
I am addressing you directly because, while you may characterise the development as strictly commercial, it is, for us, deeply personal. It's not just our considerable capital investment we will lose, but also the massive emotional investment we have made into making the area a pleasant place to live. I appreciate that you have been working on this for the better part of a year, but we personally have been working on our home and neighbourhood for the better part of a decade, some of the other residents have been there the better part of their lives. We had hoped that it would remain our home for many years to come.
I imagine you live in the inner city somewhere, probably within the inner west, a few blocks walk from a pub, in an area not dissimilar to ours. I imagine you would fight tooth and nail to stop a proposal like what you want to introduce into our community, and I doubt you would consider opening such a venue next door to your family or friends.
I wonder if there's any chance I might be able to offer any help or support in assisting you to find a different location for your venture. I am sure there are any number of already licensed premises which would be entirely suitable, rather than creating a situation where you risk opening business in the midst of over 25 homes that have objected to the development. Perhaps there is an opportunity to locate a licensed premises that may be purchased, rather than taking the considerable financial risk of investing so much into a tenancy arrangement. Ideally, you need a site not dissimilar to what Steve and Guy found when they turned the old Palace Hotel into The Local Taphouse.
I think the concept underlying your venture is an admirable one, and I would certainly be a patron if it were to be installed in an appropriate location, but there is no way I could ever condone the insertion of what is essentially a 200 seat pub into the middle of a quiet residential area, wherever it might be.
If you're amenable, I'd love to discuss this with you over a quiet beer, and perhaps we could come up with a more appropriate place for you to set up shop. Because at the end of it all, we'd rather be your patrons than your detractors.
K & J (Mostly J)