The NSW Government has called for expressions of interest to revitalize and expand Sydney’s CBD by redeveloping land and air space in the Central to Eveleigh rail corridor.
The corridor, identified in the recently-released draft Metropolitan Strategy, extends for approximately three kilometres and includes Central and Redfern stations, Australian Technology Park, the Eveleigh Rail Yards and the airspace above railway lines. Redevelopment over railways was also cited as a potentially significant opportunity in its Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan.
The redevelopment will preserve access for future essential transport needs, including the second harbour rail crossing, and could see the upgrade of the stations included into “world class transport facilities.”
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard said it was an urban renewal opportunity unlike any other in Australia and could provide thousands of new homes and jobs, particularly in education, health, technology and creative industries. Tourism and other commercial opportunities, so close to the best served infrastructure in the city, will also be attractive to the market.
"We believe there is the opportunity for a world class redevelopment of the corridor on a scale that reflects Sydney's global city status," he said. "By building above the rail lines and on underutilised land we can potentially make available more than one million square metres of new floor space - double the size of Barangaroo. Essential access for future transport infrastructure would be preserved so the city can thrive and grow.”
He added that the government expects strong interest from international engineering firms bidding for a chance to renew the corridor.
Heritage assets within the precinct will be conserved, with adaptive re-use which preserves heritage values into the 21st Century.
The NSW Government will consult with the community and key stakeholders in the second half of 2013 to obtain feedback on the precinct development strategy.
Sydney would join a list of global cities such as New York, London, San Francisco and Paris which have transformed their inner city rail transport corridors into vibrant urban precincts.
In New York, a US $4.5 billion, 50-hectare commercial, construction began on a residential and retail development over Penn St Station earlier this year, spanning a 70-metre rail corridor. Innovative bridge engineering technology was used to create a platform over the corridor with the core of buildings founded in bedrock on either side.
Government-funded redevelopment work at Kings Cross-St Pancras in London commenced in 2003 and will continue until 2025. That project will see adjacent railway land filled with buildings up to 19 storeys in height and complemented by public open space. Upgrades to the stations have already been completed.
In San Francisco, an 18-hectare development which includes the diversion of the rail corridor began in 2012. The Transbay Transit Centre was the catalyst for the development, replacing the outdated terminal and extending standard rail and high speed rail underground to the new transit centre that includes a new bus station. The project also includes 2,600 residential units, 30,000 square metres of commercial space and 10,000 square metres of retail space, and is due for completion in 2017.