A record $2.8 billion in major developments were approved by the City of Sydney’s chief planning body last year, as a major property boom transforms the city.
The seven-member Central Sydney Planning Committee approved 20 developments worth a total of $2,792,972,230. It only looks at big ticket items worth more than $50 million. All up, the council approved nearly $4 billion worth of development in 2014.
The biggest developments include the $660 million AMP Circular Quay Precinct, two CBD residential developments 230-metres high, a $100 million hotel-residential development on Kent Street, a 25-storey mixed-use development on Clarence Street worth $89 million, the University of Sydney’s $97 million stage-one campus Master Plan and a $50 million hotel-to-residential conversion in Potts Point.
In the City’s south, the Green Square urban renewal continues, with a $142 million high rise approved in 2014. In the next four years, an estimated 10,000 apartments will be built at Green Square and the area will become home to 54,000 residents and 20,000 workers.
Lord mayor Clover Moore said the record year for private investment and development comes as the council commits $220 million to the light rail extension down George Street.
Meanwhile, the council has also produced a plan to encourage new hotel developments, especially mid-range accommodation targeting the growing number of Asian visitors.
Council-commissioned research predicts 5,800 new hotel rooms will be added to the existing 23,300 rooms over the next seven years, with around half of them already in the development pipeline. The research found that five star hotels dominated the market and demand was increasing for three star options.
More than 500,000 square metres of obsolete commercial floor space is expected to be available for redevelopment over the next five years, and Council will look at whether any of the space is suitable for new hotels. Sydney Council is currently looking at a plan to convert a disused substation next to the Bristol Arms Hotel in Sussex Street into a 163 room, four star boutique hotel. It includes a request to increase the height limit for the site by up to 11.05 metres to make the hotel viable.
Clover Moore said Sydney already had 10.5 million visitors annually and the number staying in City hotels had increased by nearly 1 million in the past decade.
“Visitors contributed over $5 billion to the economy in 2012, and for every dollar spent on tourism an extra 91 cents is spent in other parts of the economy, which is a multiplier effect higher than the mining, agriculture and financial services sectors,” the lord mayor said.
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