Trader sees up-side of Supercars road work

Optimist: Bocados Spanish Kitchen owner Raul Cabrera says road work on Watt Street is inconvenient, but believes major events like the Newcastle 500 will provide opportunities for businesses. Picture: Marina NeilRelated content:
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Cold Chisel confirmed for Newcastle 500Trees come down for Supercars trackSupercars release Newcastle ticket pricesEast End rallies to ‘save the park’ from SupercarsNew race circuit for Newcastle 500Supercars lock in 2017 date with NewcastleMajor road work in the centre of Newcastle is a matter of short term pain for long term gain, a CBD business owner believes.

Crews are busy upgradingWharf Road, Nobbys Road and Watt Street ahead of the Newcastle 500 Supercars race in November.

The work on Watt Street, between Hunter Street and Church Street, has taken on-street car parks out of action in front of several businesses.

Restaurantowner Raul Cabrera said some of the issues caused by the road work were“not ideal”.

But Mr Cabrera, who owns Bocados Spanish Kitchen on the corner of Watt Street and King Street, saidhe was optimistic about the opportunities the major sporting event would bring the city’s businesses, by way of an influx of activity in the CBD.

The intersection of Watt Street and King Street in Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

“I guess for my staff and customers, closing off the parking isn’t doing anyone any favours,” he told Fairfax Media.

“It has been a change, but we are just dealing with it and working around it.

“We’ve been getting regular updates about what’s happening so we kind of know this is going to be happening for the next couple of months.People are just aware that they can’t park here so they are finding other ways of getting here.

“Ideally I wish that [the road work area] was for parking for my customers, but I’m not seeing people making a big fuss over it.”

Mr Cabrera said major events, like the Newcastle 500, were part of city life.

He said he had seen much progress in the city centre since he first started trading, in the premises next door to the current Bocados restaurant.

From the “tumbleweed” of almost a decade ago, Mr Cabrera said he saw Newcastle’s future as that of a city –not a regional town.

“I can see a theatre up there, I can see a casino overthe water, I canjust see all these things that would happen that would be city-based,” he said.

“It is a city. There is concrete, there is steel, it’s high-rise here in this part.

“I can just see that we have to go through change before that happens.

“This is part of that change –there are these yucky bits.

“Of course there are going to be hiccoughs. It’s an ‘I don’t know’ situation, which is kind of exciting.For me, I’ll make the most of it.”