Sydney’s business community has called for land west of the Harbour Bridge to be developed as a “super precinct”, as part of the push for more density through apartment development to curb urban sprawl.
A PwC report released at Monday’s Western Harbour Super Precinct Sydney 2020, showed developing the area could boost the city’s economy by more than $100 million annually.
Planning and development around Pyrmont, Barangaroo, Chinatown and Darling Harbour and Ultimo could grow the western precinct into NSW’s second-largest economy after the central business district.
Already, about $13 billion of development is being invested in projects and the Sydney Business Chamber, Committee for Sydney, and the Tourism and Transport Forum want a long-term plan to capitalise on investment opportunities.
The PwC report found a co-ordinated plan could boost the area’s economic potential by 3 per cent to 4 per cent, equalling an additional $1 billion in returns over the next 10 years.
WEST HARBOUR THE ‘NEXT BIG THING’
“Including the $6 billion Barangaroo South development, the Western Harbour Precinct is the ‘next big thing’ to happen in integrated urban development,” said the Tourism and Transport Forum’s Trent Zimmerman .
“These projects show that we are starting to look at planning in a vastly improved way in this city and taking into account the importance of the visitor economy.”
The report encouraged debate about the need for more towers around the city.
Urban Taskforce chief executive and former NSW government architect Chris Johnson told Fairfax Media the time had come to stop “wimping out” on the vision for high-rises west of the Harbour Bridge.
Bates Smart Architects director Philip Vivian said Sydney, like all global cities, needed to accommodate more people around city centres and boost the critical mass to support a metro railway system.
Mr Vivian has recommended more towers, up to 450 metres, be built around areas suitable for metro stations, and the development funds used to construct the metro system.
“Sydney has a 235-metre height cap – the underside of Centrepoint Tower. Do we really want a 1970s icon to be the most visible point in the city?” he said. “Sydney’s population is growing . . . we need to cap sprawl. It is not sustainable,” he said.
Dr Tim Williams, chief executive of the Committee for Sydney, said there was market demand and a growing need for more residential towers, but not every street would be a suitable location for a 20-storey building.
He said more people wanted smaller homes closer to the CBD, rather than a suburban four-bedroom home.
Dr Williams said the voices of young people wanting to get into the property market needed to be heard as debate was dominated by a handful of people who did not want apartments in their street.
“We want density done well, not 20-storey blocks everywhere,” Dr Williams said.