Central Park Sydney - Heritage brewery becomes the heart of a precinct


Central Park, (the former Carlton and United Brewery heritage site), is currently being redeveloped into mixed use high density residential accommodation, which includes student housing, commercial development supported by retail, restaurants, community facilities and hotels.

The $2 billion urban renewal project occupies nearly six hectares of the southern edge of the Sydney CBD, adjacent to Central railway station. The location provides an opportunity for urban renewal close to the historic and dynamic inner city character of Sydney and close to three universities – University of Technology Sydney, Notre Dame University and University of Sydney.

Heritage adds “soul” to large scale mixed use developments
The use of heritage in large scale developments adds a point of interest that can set it apart from other precincts. The incorporation of heritage structures adds richness, depth and community links to new urban developments. Without the full integration of heritage structures and existing elements large new developments can sometimes feel ‘soulless’.

However, there are challenges when incorporating these unique heritage features. How to identify, assess, manage and integrate a significant heritage structure into a viable mixed use urban redevelopment can be difficult. But such challenges can be successfully managed.

Major obstacles in developing such substantial and significant heritage sites are how to identify, assess, manage and integrate the significant heritage structures into a viable new mixed use urban redevelopment.

To successfully manage these issues, an early stage detailed review and understanding of all the buildings on the site will help identify which buildings and structures can be demolished. This will also provide a more in depth understanding of which buildings have heritage significance and how value they can be incorporated into the master planning design adding potential value to the project.


The Irving Street Brewery building
In the Central Park project, the most prominent of the heritage buildings integrated into the urban renewal site is the 1911 Irving Street Brewery building. The structure fronts the park and forms the centrepiece of the urban redevelopment.  It has been adaptively reused as a community facility while also housing the site’s sustainable features including the tri generation plant providing the power, heating and cooling.

Image Source: Frasers Property
Central Park successfully transforms the old Kent Brewery in Chippendale into an interplay of heritage, contemporary buildings and public space, along with 11 buildings, around 2,000 apartments and a collection of shops, cafes, restaurants, laneways, terraces, residential accommodation, hotels and offices.


This article first appeared in the Urbis Think Tank. Stephen Davies established Urbis Heritage in 2007 in response to a growing need for a quality heritage consultancy with ‘in house’ Town Planning, Urban Design and Social Planning and Research skills. Stephen is experienced in all aspects of heritage management. A member of ICOMOS and an accredited environmental mediator, he has been an expert member of a number of government and local government committees and boards with responsibility for heritage items, including the Heritage Council of NSW.

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