As half of the Sydney Harbour waterfront heads towards an $8.5 billion revival, the Sydney Business Chamber is leading the charge for the renewal of economically important iconic sites.
With $6 billion allocated to Sydney’s new financial services precinct, Barangaroo, $1 billion for improvements on a university and residential quarter at Broadway and more than $2.5 billion for the Convention and Entertainment precinct at Darling Harbour, the Sydney Business Chamber has called for a redevelopment of Circular Quay, Garden Island and the Sydney Fish Markets to complete the makeover of the city's water's edge.
"We are either in this game or we miss out. Sydney has to be the place to go for business, leisure and retail," said chamber executive director Patricia Forsythe.
“The key message to anyone considering investing in Sydney is that we are a city that is continually adapting, changing and redefining our city for each generation and each new decade.
The peak business body said redevelopment of industrial land and now-dated 1980s developments at Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and downtown into Broadway highlighted the need to revamp prominent Sydney sites that were last overhauled decades ago.
"We will not know this city in a few years' time. We need to think about what else to do to make it a global city," Ms Forsythe said.
"The opening up of and physically refreshing these popular Sydney Harbour sites is long overdue. It’s a very exciting time to live and work in Sydney."
In her top 10 list of improvements for Sydney, Ms Forsythe has called for the Garden Island naval base to allow more large cruise ships to dock there during the busy tourist season.
She is also supporting the development of a six-star hotel casino to lock in the emerging Asian tourism market.
"The growth of tourism from China alone is phenomenal," she said.
"A six-star hotel is an element which will ensure we have a destination that we will continue to attract both business and leisure visitors."
Other things on Ms Forsythe's list include a permanent helipad near Barangaroo to enable tourists to catch a convenient, yet spectacular, bird's eye view of the city.
"We are creating a new world-class commercial district and we should be investigating (the helipad) in the early planning stages," she said.
Ms Forsythe said Sydney was seeing a rush in high-end retail as tourists flocked to the city, but it needed to renew its shopping districts.
"Pitt St Mall at the moment is buzzing," she said about Westfield’s $1 billion redevelopment of Sydney’s premier shopping mall.
"It's about meeting these needs and these global challenges. International visitors come for an urban experience. Circular Quay is an important tourism attraction that requires a complete overhaul to ensure it’s a fantastic destination for tourists to visit for years into the future."
"We want business to invest here, and people to travel here," she said.
Sydney Business Chamber
Sydney faces some difficult challenges in the years ahead. We all know what they are – the growing pains of a global city – transport and moving quickly and easily around Sydney, housing affordability and urban sprawl, and cost of living pressures with rising prices for electricity, water and petrol. These are challenges that the previous State Government failed to meet.
As a result, a negative attitude has been allowed to fester in the hearts of our people. Commentators have described us having become sadder, angrier and meaner since we hosted the greatest Olympic Games in history. Burning through four premiers in four years does not build the confidence of a city, which is a shame, as Sydney is a city that deserves to be confident and proud of its achievements and confident and proud for its future.
Last week from Campbelltown to Coogee the people of Sydney voted for change. Never in our city has such a message washed across the political spectrum. It was a rejection of the way things have been done in Sydney and I hope a rejection of the negative attitude we hold towards our home.
We have talked our city down for ten years. It is now time to start talking it up again.
The new O’Farrell Government will have to take a new approach to the challenges Sydney faces. That needs to be matched with a new attitude from Sydneysiders towards our city.
We have so much to be positive about. Regardless of this challenges we face, we still live in one of the most envied cities on the planet. Our city rests on the shores of one of the greatest natural harbours in the world. Our city is home to magnificent feats of human engineering and design. It’s the home to a culturally diverse people whose union of unique viewpoints and experiences means we can generate innovative solutions to the challenges with which we are presented.
Sydney is a city of which we can be proud.
Not only has the Government changed, but Sydney is changing too.
The sleeping giant is awakening. Over the next 30 months the face of Sydney will be transformed. Not since the Sydney Opera House was completed in 1973 will the city be so transformed.
The $1 billion redevelopment of Star City into the new Star complex will be completed this October, providing Sydney with a new iconic attraction. A new boutique five-star hotel, state of the art 3,000 seat events complex, and some of the coolest bars, restaurants, shopping and entertainment in the world that will reinforce our role as an important tourist destination.
In Darling Harbour, the new multipurpose Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre that will commence development this year will provide Sydney with more conference and entertainment space capable of hosting up to 12,000 delegates. It will be able to host entertainment events from large rock concerts for 12,000 through to classical recitals on a smaller scale and be suitable for sporting events such as basketball, tennis and boxing.
Heading north along the foreshore, the $6 billion development of Barangaroo, the first stage of which will start this year, will not only deliver the spectacular newest and final waterside suburb of Sydney’s CBD, but will unlock the whole northern end of the City with an uninterrupted boardwalk around Sydney’s western foreshore and a new commercial and residential precinct.
Our cultural institutions are also undergoing a transformation. The new $26 million wing of the Museum of Contemporary Art will open next year and the $152 million upgrade of the Sydney Opera House a year later. The new contemporary galleries of the Art Gallery of NSW open in May.
A major redevelopment of the University of Technology’s business school is also planned, which will feature a breathtaking new building designed by Frank Gehry, a world renowned architect whose unique designs draw tourists from across the world to see them.
The historic Randwick Racecourse will see new and significantly improved grandstand facilities, an additional parade ring, a new conference facility and six new stable buildings, all part of a $162 million first phase upgrade that will dramatically alter the racing landscape in NSW.
And in the heart of Sydney’s CBD retail experience the final stage of the $1.2 billion Westfield redevelopment will open in April this year.
All these developments will bring a wealth of new experiences and opportunities.
Sydney is by no means a stale, exhausted regional outpost but a vibrant, exciting and growing metropolis that can rival the great cities of the world. We just need the attitude to match it and with a new Government to harness the talents and energy of the community we can make it happen.
Sydney Business Chamber