It was an eventful week for Sydney as plans for the post-pandemic “rejuvenation” began to unfold – the list included the first approval obtained for the soon-to-be-emerging Tech Central in the central business district (CBD).

The New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment recently announced the approval of anchor tenant Atlassian’s new 40-storey headquarters and the repurposing of more land for new tech players.

Atlassian’s headquarters, which is expected to be the tallest hybrid wooden tower in the world, will host 5,000 operational jobs.

The $546 million tower is expected to begin construction in the first half of 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2026.

Meanwhile, a competitive design competition is currently underway for the repurposing of the Parcel Post building and Henry Deane Plaza, which is expected to be completed later this year.

Planning and Public Space Minister Rob Stokes said these recent approvals are seen as important milestones in the government’s efforts to ‘rejuvenate’ the urban landscape.

“The refurbishment of Central Station and the completion of Tech Central will create a commercial core in the south of the city with a public domain with new open space, shops and cafes all atop the rail corridor,” he said.

“This project is a vote of confidence in the Sydney CBD and brings new employment opportunities close to Central Station, making jobs, homes and services easily accessible.”

Property Council NSW Executive Director Luke Achterstraat said the Tech Central will create Australia’s answer to Silicon Valley, making Sydney home to the largest technology center of its kind in the country.

“The future belongs to Sydney, with Tech Central being home to Australia’s first hub for Quantum Computing startups, The National Space Industry Hub, as well as the Cybersecurity Placement Program,” he said.

“This is great news as we begin to recover from the aftermath of COVID, and to have innovative mega-developments like this on the way only strengthens us as a dominant global city.”

“The concept of a thriving ecosystem of world-class universities, start-ups and technology is expected to create 25,000 jobs by 2036 and we expect it to be recognized around the world.”

Public domain plans approved

Sydney City Council recently approved three public domain projects covering City Hall, the City of South and the Chinatown District.

The projects include a $5 million investment in infrastructure in the historic Chinatown district and a $10 million upgrade of Belmore Park near the central station.

Mayor Clover Moore said these plans build on the city’s success in transforming the CBD.

“The pandemic has shown how important our public spaces in the heart of our city are to provide comfort, as well as space to exercise, meet friends and dine al fresco,” she said.

“As we accelerate our plans to create a more connected and walkable city, the importance of seizing every opportunity to create new public spaces is paramount.”

Chinatown public domain plan

Several initiatives have been launched for the Chinatown district since 2010, the most recent being the $43.5 million George Street South pedestrian project that transformed the Haymarket area.

The additional $5 million investment for improvements to Chinatown includes the revival of the Dixon Street Mall and a renovation of the Dixon Street gates. There are also plans to upgrade amenities on Quay Street.

Future projects for this district include:

  • widening of footpaths and more space for people to walk and new seating on Sussex Street between Goulburn and Hay streets
  • a segregated bike path and footpath widening on Ultimo Road between Harris and Thomas streets
  • widening of the footpath, more walking space and new seating on the east side of Havenstraat.

City South public domain

Plans for the Stad Zuid public domain will touch on the design development for Belmore Park. This will form the basis for the coordinated plan for Tech Central.

Several projects are also underway involving the southern extension of George Street and the further pedestrianization south of Rawson Street to the Pitt Street intersection at Railway Square.

Currently there are talks of works in Campbell Street, St Laurence Lane, Parker Street and Laneway, Randle Lane and Cunningham Street which would create new roads and slow streets giving priority to walking and driving.

City Hall public domain.

There are three recommended project priorities under the City Hall Public Domain.

The first is the planned Town Hall Square, which will be opposite Sydney City Hall.

There are also plans to set up a Sydney Square, which will provide a quiet place for local workers, visitors and shoppers.

Finally, Park and Druitt streets are expected to receive a facelift as foot traffic is expected to increase given the completion of the new Pitt Street subway station.

Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash.