A raft of major development projects continue to take shape within capital city CBDs, some of such scale they are viewed as future economic springboards for post-pandemic recovery.

High among them is Central Place Sydney – a world-class $2.5 billion project undertaken by Dexus and Frasers Property Australia at the southern edge of the city’s CBD. Sprawling across 24 hectares, Central Place Sydney will be the city’s largest commercial precinct and epicentre of the NSW government-backed Tech Central precinct, the biggest of its kind in Australia. Adjacent Central Place Sydney tech giant Atlassian’s $1 billion-plus 180 metre tower, a ground-breaking hybrid timber structure featuring steel and concrete floor plates and a steel and glass façade capable of generating its own electricity while shading the building.

Central Place Sydney comprises 250,000sqm of commercial space across two A-grade office towers aimed at leading science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) industries. Some 50,000sqm of floorspace is designated affordable for start-ups and fledgling companies. The development - powered by 100% renewable energy – will take place in and around Central Station currently undergoing a $955 million facelift as part of the $20 billion Sydney Metro.

Force of nature

Those fortunate enough to work within Central Place Sydney’s commercial towers will experience the latest advances in environmental and sustainable architecture, among them touchless entry points lead, light airy workspaces and, outside, manicured green spaces dotted with sculptures and public artworks.

The towers, by international architects SOM and Fender Katsalidis have been designed to minimise the forces of wind as well as admit natural light. Strategically placed sunshades protect tenants from solar glare and heat while the “breathing façade” provides natural ventilation. Workers will also be able to congregate on rooftop community spaces or avail themselves of dining and retail options within the precinct.

“By mimicking nature and incorporating biophilic design elements like smart shading and extensive terraces, the tower designs for Central Place Sydney improve energy performance and enhance the wellbeing of those working within," said SOM Design Partner Scott Duncan, while Central Place Sydney Project Director, Kimberley Jackson said the developments health building initiatives will “define the future of work and workplaces”. 

The development is subject to a number of approvals, including planning consent by the City of Sydney and other government approvals. Construction is targeted to start in 2022 and the project’s first stage delivered in 2025.

North Sydney

The North Sydney CBD a few kilometres north of the city across the Sydney Harbour Bridge is another hub slated for major developments – including its tallest tower and a new metro station. The area second only to the city for lettable office space has also welcomed a significant number of new tenants this year, mostly in the tech and media spaces.

Now occupying newly built $1.2 billion office tower in the lower north shore suburb are heavy hitters Microsoft, SAP and Nine Entertainment Co. In June, Knight Frank and Colliers negotiated deals that saw a multinational tech company, an automotive group, a large consultancy and an aviation group take up floors in the same Arthur Street block.

Large developers looking to the post-pandemic economy and a return to more normal working conditions include Stockland. In January the construction giant lodged plans for a $500 million office tower in North Sydney. To be designed by Hassell, 110 Walker Street will become the area’s tallest structure. Previously the largest development was to be Lendlease’s $1.2 billion, 40-storey commercial tower which will rise above Victoria Cross Metro station, now under construction scheduled for a 2024 opening. The aim of the station is to see trains running every two minutes each way through Sydney’s CBD.

St Leonards Town Centre

A few kilometres further north the St Leonards Town Centre is shaping up with a key component the A-grade 14-level commercial tower, 558 Pacific Highway due to be tenant-ready by early 2023.

The landmark JQZ development, filled with smart building tech, will be unique for its end-of-trip and wellness facilities that are being billed as among Sydney’s most opulent. Tenants will be able to avail themselves of luxury marble bathrooms, 200 secure bicycle parking spaces with lockers, plus 121 commercial car spaces and over 300 public car spaces.

The tower is part of the $1.6 billion ‘88 by JQZ’ precinct featuring two residential towers of 47 and 26 storeys and four levels of retail and dining.  The entire precinct will be linked with the Sydney Metro system with the Crows Nest Metro Station opening 400 metres away in 2024.

Next week: Melbourne’s upcoming developments