Construction giant Grocon’s $500 million plan to redevelop the IMAX Retail and Entertainment Complex at Darling Harbour in the New South Wales capital of Sydney has been given the go-ahead by the state’s planning body.

On June 16, the Planning Assessment Commission granted conditional approval for the company’s proposed ‘The Ribbon’ concept, which would see the demolition of the existing IMAX building, tourist office and amenities block and subsequent construction of a 20-storey cinema and commercial office tower, a separate two-storey building and public domain and landscaping works including new paving, a new children’s playground, relocation of the existing carousel and relocation and upgrading of the existing palm grove.

In its decision, the Commission acknowledged Council concerns relating to impediments of pedestrian flows and disruption of sight lines and visual permeability as a consequence of the building footprint. It also noted other concerns surrounding the additional demand placed upon pedestrian approaches from Town Hall Station and nearby bus stops, but said such issues have been addressed by conditions imposed on the approval.

It also noted public concern surrounding the height, bulk and scale of the project relative to the surrounding context but said the proposed construction in this respect is broadly compatible with the massing of buildings on the western edge of the CBD as well as future planned construction within the convention centre and Darling Harbour precinct.

The approval follows the start of construction on the new Sydney Convention Centre last month, which is set to open in 2016.

Describing the project as an ‘iconic landmark’, Grocon chief executive officer Carolyn Viney said the development reflected state of the art design.

“This is a major milestone in our journey to bring new life and renewed investment into a prized aspect of Sydney and the magnificent Sydney harbour foreshore,” Viney said.

The project is being developed by Grocon in partnership with private real-estate group Markham.