Green Light for Sydney Convention Centre Makeover

Thursday, August 29th, 2013
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ICC Sydney from Cockle Bay
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A $1 billion makeover of the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre at Darling Harbour is a step closer to reality after receiving the green light for construction from the New South Wales government.

A $1 billion makeover of the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre at Darling Harbour is a step closer to reality after receiving the green light for construction from the New South Wales government.

New South Wales Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner says planning approval has been granted for the new convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities as well as a major upgrade to and expansion of surrounding public space at Tumbalong Park.

Upon its expected completion and subsequent opening in 2016, the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) will feature 40,000 square metres of convention and exhibition space as well as a 5,000 square metres outdoor Event Deck which will showcase city and harbour views and be used for entertainment, cocktail parties and special occasions such as New Year’s Eve.

The exhibition space will be arranged over two floors in a stacked configuration considered appropriate for a high density CBD environment.

The makeover also includes a new entertainment centre to replace Sydney Entertainment Centre and a 3,000 square metres expansion of public space at Tumbalong Park which will create new event space for up to 27,000 people.

Exhibition Centre from Tumbalong Park

Exhibition Centre from Tumbalong Park

Set to cost around $1 billion, the redevelopment is part of a broader plan to transform Darling Harbour, which along with the $6 billion Barangaroo development is expected to enhance Sydney’s reputation as a world-class city and generate 3,700 jobs during construction as well as 4,000 ongoing employment opportunities.

In addition to the exhibition and public space works, the broader plan also includes a landmark new hotel and a makeover of the Haymarket precinct in the south of the site.

Speaking about the entertainment and exhibition works specifically, Stoner reckons the new development will enhance the quality of public space at Darling Harbour, improve connectivity between Sydney’s CBD and neighbouring suburbs and deliver $5 billion in economic benefits over 25 years.

“The existing convention and exhibition facilities have served Sydney well for more than 25 years but need renewing so we remain competitive both in Australia and the Asia Pacific,” Stoner says.

The Theatre from Tumbalong Park

The Theatre from Tumbalong Park

The convention and entertainment facilities are being developed by jointly by the New South Wales government in conjunction with a consortium led by Lend Lease which in March secured a 25-year contract to design, build, operate and maintain the facilities under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. Lend Lease is also undertaking the Haymarket and new hotel developments under an arrangement separate to the PPP.

The existing convention centre facilities are set to close for the duration of construction in December this year.

During this time, conventions will be held across a range of locations throughout the city while an interim facility for exhibitions is under development at Glebe Island.

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