Plans to build Australia’s tallest building in western Sydney could be scuppered by the refusal of aviation authorities to remove height restrictions within the vicinity of the planned Badgerys Creek airport.
Parramatta Council hopes that its $2 billion Parramatta Square redevelopment will result in the creation of a second CBD that will rival downtown Sydney as a metropolitan centre.
At the heart of the redevelopment proposal is the Aspire residential tower – a 90-storey apartment containing 700 apartments and 150 hotel rooms.
Aspire’s height of 336 metres would give it the edge over the 323-metre Q1 Tower in Queensland, which is at present Australia’s tallest building.
City planners may have to trim this skyline-defining project, however, should aviation authorities insist on the retention of building height restrictions in the area due to its proximity to the Badgerys Creek airport.
Parramatta Mayor Scott Lloyd had previously called for the creation of a “bubble” over the city – an exclusive no-fly zone capable of accommodating a new high-rise hub with buildings as tall as 500 metres.
At present, the construction of buildings whose height exceeds roughly 300 metres is prohibited in Parramatta, while any development with a height in excess of 159 metres requires approval.
The council’s hopes received succour from Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s voicing of support for a review of the height restrictions created by proximity to the airport.
Developers remain highly concerned about uncertainty surrounding the height restriction and its potential impact upon the project. Aviation authorities will only provide an in-depth assessment of relevant issues once a development application is lodged by the winning contender out of the four rivals vying for the project – Centurion Custodians, Dyldam, Leyton Properties and Walker Corporation.
If Aspire’s final height is significantly scaled back by the aviation authority’s insistence upon the retention of height controls, it could hamper the project by resulting in a truncated tower with reduced profitability and lower land values.
Height controls are designed to facilitate aircraft navigation as well as safeguard aircraft from collisions during piloting by sight, and are considered by aviation experts to be vital to the safe functioning of an airport.
A Department of Infrastructure spokesperson had previously said that the imposition of a no-fly zone in Parramatta or the Sydney CBD would “severely [impact] on the safety and efficiency of the relevant airport.”