The Harold Park Paceway development in Glebe is a recipe for "how to do density", says Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore. Once the city's home of harness racing, the 10.6-hectare site has undergone a radical face lift since developer Mirvac bought it in 2010. "When harness racing approached the city and said they wanted to relocate and sell the site ... we had a vision," the lord mayor said at the opening of the Harold Park Tramsheds on Thursday. "We had housing targets to meet and whilst a lot of people in Glebe wanted it to just be a park, we said we can't do that." Since then, the site has become home to 1250 apartments and terrace homes, almost four hectares of soon-to-be finished open space and the fully refurbished 1904 Harold Park Tramsheds, a European-inspired food hall hosting 18 retailers and providores. "Harold Park can now become an example of ... how to do sustainable development, how to provide for the new community and the surrounding community." Until development began on the site, the tramsheds were a favoured haunt among trespassing young locals, photographers and graffiti artists. But even amid luxe restaurant fitouts and sleek glass walls, echoes still remain of the former late-night dwellers, on walls where layers of graffiti art has been preserved. Alongside restaurant names like Mama's Buoi, Bodega 1904 and Southern-inspired diner Belle's Hot Chicken are everyday services such as a supermarket retailer, medical centre and gym. Chef Eugenio Maiale, of Flour Eggs Water by A Tavola, said the site was a unique platform that allowed him to share food "just like our mamas used to do". "This place really lends itself to communal dining. It's a lot more casual, but it's got heritage. Here it's all about pasta, pasta being made, being cooked and then being eaten," he said. "And if I run out of sugar, I can just go next door and the guys from Bodega will give me some, and away we go." Wally Mostafa, part-owner of middle eastern-fusion restaurant Bekya, said the area had been crying out for a concept like the Tramsheds. "The inner west is lacking places to eat – a lot. Glebe has lost its mojo ... it's not the same as before." Mr Mostafa, who is from Annandale, said he expected the hall to become a marquee site. "There was a need for a venue like this in the inner west, capturing catchments of Drummoyne, Gladesville, Haberfield, Annandale, Camperdown. This brings all these suburbs together," he said. "The last three or four weeks we've got to meet every single person involved in the tramsheds. Everyone helps one another, that's the beauty of being together under one roof. It's one big family." The Harold Park Tramsheds are open daily from 7am until late.