Uncertain future for Kogarah Town Centre shops with business owners in dark about development plans

Business owners leasing shops in Kogarah Town Centre have been left in limbo while controversial redevelopment plans for three 19-storey apartment towers are considered.

Normal five-year lease renewals are no longer available, creating uncertainty and an inability to sell businesses.

Instead, business owners are being offered a month to month lease arrangement, with no indication they will have a future in any future redevelopment.

Kogarah MP Chris Minns claimed the state government was being secretive about its intentions regarding the proposal until after the election on Saturday.

A business owner said, "We are being given no information and are  treated like trailer trash".

He said the proposal was "ridiculous" because of the lack of infrastructure to support a huge number of new residents in the area.

Others in the centre blamed uncertainty for a shop, previously occupied by a deli and sandwich business, remaining vacant a year after the owners retired.

Sydney Trains is rubbing salt into the wounds by constructing a new shop in the station's former ticket office, with the leasee expected to be given long-term tenure.

The government owns about 10 other shops near the ticket barriers, while giant construction and development company Ganellen, which has a long-term lease on the centre, owns others.

Ganellen also owns the adjoining petrol station property, enhancing the opportunity for redevelopment.

A spokesman for the Department of Premier and Cabinet said Ganellen's unsolicited proposal remained at stage two.

That stage involves a committee investigating the proposal further and making a recommendation to the government on whether or not to proceed to the next stage.

A Sydney Trains spokesman said: "Retail leases at Kogarah Station will be reviewed and assessed as they come up for renewal. Any decision to offer a new lease term would need to take into account whether or not the unsolicited proposal will progress."

Mr Minns said Kogarah residents were opposed to "the overdevelopment of this site, and deserve to know what the government knows".

The government had been working on the proposal for more than a year, he said.

"My concern is the government is keeping their plans secret until after the election."

Mr Minns listed 12 questions the government should answer.

They included whether there was any agreement between the government and proponent, what meetings had taken place and who attended, and what government resources, including legal, financial, planning and technical, had been committed.

Mr Minns also questioned whether a business case and / or an economic appraisal of the proposal had been completed.

He also called for details on the towers, including the number of units proposed.