Billions of dollars in new building projects a good sign for Sydney's construction industry, analysts say

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a tall building in a city: This 32-storey residential and commercial tower in Sydney's CBD has been given the green light. (Supplied.)

This 32-storey residential and commercial tower in Sydney's CBD has been given the green light. 

Major projects worth billions of dollars in and around Sydney were given the green light last year despite fears for the construction industry.

And while some analysts are predicting a sluggish 2021 in the sector, amid uncertain economic conditions, hopes are high for the coming years.

The Master Builders Association is predicting non-residential building works like shops, offices, and commercial space to reduce about 18 percent throughout this financial year.

But chief economist Shane Garrett thinks the long-term viability of the projects "is pretty secure".

"They will reach their completion stage in a fairly healthy economic environment which is moving in the right direction at a fast pace.

"I wouldn't be too concerned about the economic viability of any projects that are being initiated at the moment."

Here are some of the major developments that have been given the green light.

CBD developments

1. 55 Pitt Street, Sydney

This $500 million Mirvac redevelopment includes a new 50-storey commercial office tower above a 45-metre podium on the corner of Pitt Street and Dalley Street in the Sydney CBD, two blocks from Circular Quay.

It includes 70,950 square metres of new commercial floor space in a tower reaching up to 232m.

It would see the demolition of a nine-storey mid-century commercial office building and significant upgrades of the adjacent Ausgrid and Telstra utility buildings to "improve their aesthetics and deliver new retail opportunities".

A final design is expected to be selected from a competitive design process.

2. 65-77 Market Street, Sydney

A $295.9 million project proposed by Scentre Group and Cbus Property, this development is a 32-storey mixed-use residential and commercial tower in the heart of the CBD.

The block, owned by David Jones Properties, is hemmed between Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street, in the shadow of Sydney Tower.

FJMT Studio architects won the competitive design process in November for its blueprint's "unique" and "understated" style.

The project would see the partial internal demolition of the existing 1938 David Jones heritage-listed department store, to create an atrium for the new development.

It includes plans for 13 one-bedroom units, 56 two-bedroom units, 29 three-bedroom units, and five four-bedroom units.

3. 169-183 Liverpool Street, Sydney

The proposed $244.4 million development by Shimao Group Holdings Limited would see the demolition of an existing commercial tower directly south of Hyde Park and the ANZAC War Memorial, to make way for two new residential towers.

The 35 and 37-storey buildings are designed to house a total of up to 237 apartments.

Owned by Sicard Pty Ltd, the development will "conserve the heritage significance of the ANZAC War Memorial and Hyde Park" by providing a space between the two towers, allowing visitors a clear view of the sky.

A final design plan is expected to be selected through a competitive process.

4. 133-141 Liverpool Street, Sydney

This block on the corner of Liverpool Street and Castlereagh Street and opposite to the Downing Centre is owned by the trustee of the Roman Catholic Church.

It's planning to knock down an existing 113m commercial tower to make way for a 70-level high-rise reaching 234m.

The $161.6 million project would include commercial and communal open spaces and up to 227 residential apartments.

5. 187 Thomas Street, Haymarket

The site on the corner of Thomas Street and Valentine Street is located about 200m from Central Station.

Greaton Development's plan would see the construction of a new 206m hybrid tower, with about 50,000sqm of floor space, designed to accommodate a mixture of tenants across innovation, education, employment and tourism.

It would add to the supply of "large floor plate commercial floor space" in the city.

An existing 10-storey commercial office building would be removed to make way for the major development.

A design competition for the project is soon expected to commence.

6. 93-97 Macquarie Street, Sydney

This $135.1 million proposal by developer Oakstand would see a redevelopment of an existing heritage listed Health Department building owned by Sir Stamford At Circular Quay.

It is one block from the eastern side of Circular Quay, opposite the Royal Botanic Garden.

While a tower would emerge above and behind the building, heritage elements, including the existing exterior would be retained.

A new 16-storey tower would reach up to 55m, and include new commercial and residential space.

7. 94-104 Epsom Road, Zetland

This $108.3 million development includes three buildings between four and 13 storeys in height and will accommodate 271 residential apartments.

Up to 184 car parking spaces will be provided as well as commercial premises.

While the site is currently owned by the City of Sydney Council, it will be purchased by developer Karimbla Properties.

SJB was selected as the winner of the competitive design process.

8. 371-375 Pitt Street, Sydney

Owner and developer Sydney Redevelopments 1 Pty Ltd is spending $80.4 million to construct a 34-storey hotel and commercial development.

The demolition of existing buildings, as well as excavation and remediation, will make way for 304 hotel rooms and associated facilities as well as one retail tenancy.

9. 477 Pitt Street, Haymarket

Owner ISPT Pty Ltd plans to transform an existing commercial asset into an "enlivened contemporary workplace for a technology-focused community", costing $71.6 million.

It would involve revamping an existing 31-storey office tower, lobby, and associated retrial spaces.

Works include the removal of the current facade as well as the restoration of existing heritage sites including the Australian Gaslight Co building, Fire Station, and Manse building.

10. Central Station

Tech giant Atlassian plans to build a 40-storey skyscraper building next to Central Station at a cost of $1 billion.

The hybrid timber tower will be part of the earmarked and NSW Government-backed "Tech Central" which will stretch from Central to Camperdown.

Atlassian's new Australian headquarters will sit above the YHA Central Railway Square and house around 4,000 staff.

It is hoped construction will start this year and will finish in 2025.

11. Martin Place

The new Martin Place metro precinct will include two new commercial buildings at either entrance to the station.

At the northern entrance of the station, a 39-storey commercial tower will rise above the financial district, while a 28-storey building will be constructed at the other end.

The two new towers will be constructed at the same time the station is built underground.

The metro station is due to open in 2024.

Other Sydney developments

10. 29-33 Oxford Street, Epping

This $181.5 million development would see a small school and church complex owned by the trustee of the Catholic Church turned into a 29-storey mixed use tower with a care facility, primary school and seniors living centre.

The high-rise plan by developer Stockland includes a 132-bed residential care facility, 205 independent seniors living units, four church presbytery units, ancillary shops, two-to-three storey church hall, two-to-three storey primary school building, and a basement with 372 car parks.

All buildings on the site would be demolished, except the current church which would be incorporated for its heritage value.

11. 160 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead

The site, owned by Western Sydney University, sits directly opposite Westmead Hospital and is 400m walking distance to Westmead Train Station.

The blueprint would see a complex of residential buildings from eight to 24 stories in height and contain up to 556 apartments in total constructed.

A total of 654 parking spaces are expected to be made available in the $168.2 million project, being developed by Combine Projects Westmead.

12. 659 Victoria Road, Melrose Park

The $166.7 million development by Payce and owner Tyriel Developments includes a square shaped complex of four towers up to 11 storeys high and two towers up to 12 storeys high.

It will contain 412 residential units, a supermarket, retail shops, and three basement levels of car parks.

Public space the key to liveability

Sydney is known to be constrained by its narrow roads and by Sydney Harbour.

Councils should keep improving standards to enhance public space as density increases, Associate Professor of Urban Design at the University of Sydney Deena Ridenour said.

"Our cities were laid out in a former time and we didn't think about needing to use the spaces in the streets for the uses that we now need," she said.

"We're finding the footpaths are too narrow, there's a lot of space for cars and so we're needing to rebalance that and say, 'How do we get more space out of these constrained areas that we have'.

"A lot of Sydney's older streets are 20 metres wide and that just has to do with how the surveyors started out at the time and the tools that they used.

"New York City has very wide footpaths like five metres where ours can be very narrow, like two-and-a-half metres in some places."

Providing more views of the harbour would only enhance the feeling of openness, she said.

"Having a street grid that gives you views to the harbour and views to water is a really positive element that makes it feel more spacious as you increase the size of buildings — so the layout of the streets matter but also then the quality of the streets that you're creating."


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