Australia’s largest convention and exhibition facilities, Sydney’s largest red carpet entertainment venue, a hotel complex of up to 900 rooms plus a new urban neighbourhood in Haymarket will be part of one of the most exciting urban renewal projects the city has ever seen, the NSW Government announced today.
Premier Barry O’Farrell said the transformation of a 20-hectare precinct at Darling Harbour, stretching from Cockle Bay to Haymarket and Ultimo, would generate about $5 billion in economic benefit for NSW.
Mr O’Farrell said Destination Sydney had been selected as the preferred bidder to partner with the NSW Government for the development, which has the working title “Darling Harbour Live”. These facilities and the upgrade of the public domain at Darling Harbour will cost about $1 billion.
Destination Sydney is a consortium comprising AEG Ogden, Lend Lease, Capella Capital and Spotless.
“Along with the development of Barangaroo, this project will transform the western fringe of Sydney’s Central Business District and is the biggest and most exciting change to Darling Harbour in 25 years,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“This plan fulfils a key election commitment and will create jobs for 1,600 people during the three year construction, which starts at the end of 2013, and provide ongoing employment for 4,000 people across the precinct.”
Opening in late 2016, the new world-class exhibition, convention and entertainment facilities are aimed at ensuring Sydney remains the choice in Australia and Asia Pacific for the competitive – and lucrative – business events industry.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner said the convention and exhibition facilities will generate $200 million per year in economic benefit for NSW, or $5 billion, over the period of the 25 year concession.
“International business delegates spend up to six times more than other tourists, and this development will ensure Sydney has world-class facilities in a prime CBD location so we continue to compete on the global stage,” Mr Stoner said.
“Underscoring the need for new facilities, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) advises that over the past five years the existing facilities have been unable to accommodate about 169 conventions and 12 exhibitions. These events could have created $150 million in economic benefit for NSW.”
The new convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities will be built north of Pier St, while the new urban neighbourhood will be created south of Pier St on the site of the existing Sydney Entertainment Centre and car park.
“The redevelopment goes far beyond improving facilities – it’s also about re-shaping the city. Darling Harbour already attracts 25 million people a year and this development will create a more vibrant place on Sydney Harbour,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“This development creates a cosmopolitan neighbourhood in the heart of the city at The Haymarket that is humming with life seven days a week. The Haymarket will also be known as a thriving technology precinct with IT businesses and an ‘IQ Hub’ that is aligned with the University of Technology Sydney and focused on helping start-ups.”
The existing Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre will close December 2013. The new facilities and the improved public spaces at Darling Harbour will be opened in December 2016. Construction will commence on The Haymarket in 2014, allowing the existing Sydney Entertainment Centre to remain open until December 2015.
Mr O’Farrell said the existing Sydney Convention Exhibition Centre, Sydney Entertainment Centre and its staff had been instrumental in ensuring Sydney’s success in the major events industry, and was now well-placed for further growth.
During the three year construction period, Darling Harbour will remain open for business. SHFA will work with Destination Sydney and retailers at Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay and King St Wharf to keep the precinct active.
Infrastructure NSW will now enter into detailed negotiations to finalise the contract in the first half of 2013. The contract is for Destination Sydney to build the convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities and then maintain and operate for 25 years as well as the development rights for The Haymarket and hotel complex.
Destination Sydney will work with Infrastructure NSW to enter into Project Development Agreements to develop the hotel complex and The Haymarket site, which is adjacent to the convention and exhibition site, with an anticipated end development value of about $1.5 billion.