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Restaurants slugged with rent increases

Construction of Sydney's $2.1 billion light rail project is taking its toll on restaurants.

In 2016, restaurants leasing premises from Sydney Trains at Circular Quay station were hit with rental increases of 5 to 10 per cent.

And the rent has been going up with annual rises ranging from the rate of inflation to 3 per cent.

This comes at a time when their revenue is falling.

One such restaurant is City Extra which rents premises in the station building

It is now paying more than $1 million a year in rent.

City Extra owner Steven Duff says his customers are now paying more to cover the increase.

"We have had to put our coffee up to $5 a coffee just to stay in the ball game. And we're no different to all the other people here," Mr Duff told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Out of that $5, $3 alone goes towards covering rent and electricity costs. These are now 30 per cent higher than they were a year ago.

At the same time, the revenue for City Extra and the nearby Italian eatery, Rossini at the Quay, has plunged by 15 to 30 per cent with buses being re-routed from stops at Circular Quay in late 2015 and light rail construction beginning last year.

I don't think [the government] has got any comprehension of what it's like to run and survive in a private business," Mr Duff told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Walking up and down George Street, I weep when I think of people who have lost their homes and livelihoods. To me, they've all just been walked over."

He said City Extra had put in a request to the state for rent relief due to the disruption caused by the light rail. It was knocked back without explanation.

"At the moment we feel we are taking the brunt of paying the big rents while we're going through this suffering period, and other people can come in afterwards and get all the benefit," Mr Duff told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"All I asked was for a pause in the increases in the rent. I wasn't after any great concession."


Leon Getler 17th May 2018.