Sydney Convention Centre closing to make way for new facility.....
Around $1 billion will be invested in creating Australia’s first fully integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct at Darling Harbour, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell announced yesterday.
Mr O’Farrell said Infrastructure NSW (INSW) would lead the delivery of the new facilities, having developed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) tailored for the project, which would create better value for the taxpayer and reduce government risk.
He said the size of the precinct had been increased by two-thirds to 20 hectares, including Tumbalong Park and the monorail corridor, allowing for significant improvements to the public domain.
The precinct also includes Sydney Entertainment Centre and car park, and the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
“The project will mean a complete face-lift for Darling Harbour - as well as the world- class facilities, families will continue to be able to enjoy the best that Darling Harbour has to offer, including the same amount of open space,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“The NSW Government is creating a vibrant world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct at Darling Harbour that will keep Sydney centre stage as Australia’s global city."
“The project will boost the competitiveness of the NSW major events industry, ensuring we don’t miss any more opportunities. NSW has already lost $150 million in economic benefit over the four years to 2010-11 because the current facilities have not been able to accommodate 169 conventions and 12 exhibitions."
“The new flexible facilities, combined with technological innovation and improved efficiency, will allow Sydney to tackle the Asia-Pacific market head-on, providing capacity and flexibility for ‘mega’ conferences and a range of other major events."
“And they will bring NSW an economic benefit of more than $1 billion over five years."
“Today we’ve reached the next stage in the tendering process, with a Request for Proposals issued to the consortia bidding for the project – a major step towards selecting the winning proposal by the end of the year.”
The new facilities will include:
- The largest exhibition space in Australia at 40,000 sqm
- The biggest meeting room space in Australia at 6,000 sqm, linked to both convention and exhibition areas
- The biggest Australian convention hall capacity – known as plenary space – able to accommodate more than 10,000 people over four different areas, allowing multiple events to take place at the same time
- Dedicated banqueting facilities for 2,000 people – almost double the current capacity
- A red carpet, premium entertainment facility with a capacity of at least 8000 people, suitable for both international entertainment events and ‘mega’ conferences
- State-of-the-art technology throughout, such as wireless connectivity across all facilities – allowing delegates in the banqueting hall or a meeting room to view a convention speaker on their iPad
- The creation of up to 3,500 jobs during construction.
“Commercial development is being considered to activate the precinct for Sydneysiders and visitors to enjoy, with a mix of retail shops, public spaces, dining areas, a hotel and other accommodation among the options,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“We spoke to business and industry leaders and there was an overwhelming enthusiasm for Sydney to have world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities as soon as possible."
“This will mean a full closure of the current facilities at Darling Harbour during construction from late 2013 to late 2016. If we had staged the closure of the existing venues, this would have delayed completion of the project until 2019."
“During the three-year construction period, Sydney’s major events industry will remain open for business."
“Alternative arrangements are being investigated for events that would have been held at Darling Harbour during construction of the new, world-class facilities."
“Sydney Olympic Park, Moore Park, Sydney’s hotels, the Australian Technology Park, Allphones Arena and other venues in Sydney will play an expanded role in hosting conferences, exhibitions and entertainment during the construction period.”
Following yesterday’s Request for Proposals, two consortia will now prepare detailed bids:
- Destination Sydney comprising AEG Ogden Pty Ltd, Lend Lease Project Management and Construction, Spotless Facility Services Pty Ltd, Lend Lease Developments, Capella Capital Pty Ltd and InfraRed Capital Partners Ltd.
- VeNuSW comprising Plenary Group Ltd, Brookfield Multiplex P/L, Brookfield Multiplex Services Pty Ltd and Suntec Int. Convention & Exhibition Services Pte Ltd.