While Sydney’s CBD remains in pandemic-induced hibernation, the city’s second CBD, Parramatta, is tipped to emerge as a bright spot following the coronavirus crisis.
Newly-released plans from the NSW government for Parramatta’s central business district will now aim to unlock more than 50,000 jobs while adding 14,000 new homes to Sydney’s west.
The proposal, which will be put on public exhibition, includes expanding the CBD, new floor space ratio and building height controls to provide incentives for development where community benefits can be provided.
Strict regulations will also be put in place to protect public areas such as Parramatta Square, the historic Lancer Barracks and Jubilee Park from being overshadowed by skyscrapers.
The new measures will now likely drive pre-commitment to kick-start new development because of the sheer size of the space needed, and as a way to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
Planning minister Rob Stokes said the NSW government had worked closely with City of Parramatta Council to progress the plan that will guide Sydney’s second CBD, while also aiding the state government’s Covid-19 recovery plan.
“From increased building heights for a dynamic city skyline, to almost two million square metres of new commercial floorspace, new cultural spaces and fantastic public spaces, this proposal will shape the Parramatta CBD for generations to come.”
City of Parramatta lord mayor Bob Dwyer said the initiative marked an important milestone and next step in the transformation of Sydney’s “Central City”.
“Council initiated this proposal to help us realise our shared vision for the Parramatta CBD—an economic leader with a thriving commercial centre that attracts world-class businesses and offers incredible lifestyle opportunities for residents,” Dwyer said.
Walker Corporation won a tender for the development of Parramatta Square in 2015 and is now eyeing the delivery of more than 230,000 square metres there.
Charter Hall has also completed a building in the precinct, One Parramatta Square—or 1PSQ—which is the 26,500sq m home to the Western Sydney University.
A broader wave of redevelopment is under way in Parramatta, attracting developers and spurring the market in commercial real estate such as GPT’s $277.6 million acquisition of the Eclipse tower from super fund Rest in August 2018.
In 2018, GPT won approval for a $230 million office tower development on the corner of Smith and Phillip streets, a site formerly owned by the Salvation Army, in a project designed by Fender Katsalidis.
That same year, Charter Hall teamed up again with Western Sydney University with plans to develop a $350 million education and commercial office project at Parramatta.
In 2017, Dexus sold a tower development on Phillip Street in Parramatta—set to be the headquarters for the NSW government’s Department of Education—to Charter Hall for $229 million.
The country’s largest office landlord returned to the Parramatta market in 2018, gaining approval to develop a $500 million building at 140 George Street set to comprise 45,700sq m of space across 33 storeys.