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Construction begins on $2.5 billion transformation of Darling Harbour

6 December 2013
Construction starts next week on the $2.5 billion transformation of Darling Harbour, after the NSW Government finalised the State’s first Public Private Partnership (PPP) in five years.

By the end of 2016, a 20-hectare precinct - known as “Darling Harbour Live” – will be home to the new $1 billion world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities, ICC Sydney, plus a premium harbour side hotel. A new neighbourhood with offices, residential, cafes and shops will also emerge progressively on the site of the existing Entertainment Centre, which will remain open until 2015.

Acting Premier Andrew Stoner said the Darling Harbour Live project company will begin site preparation works inside the existing buildings on Monday 9 December – the day after the existing convention and exhibition centre holds its final event.

“Today we are one step closer to delivering the most exciting transformation of Darling Harbour in a generation,” Mr Stoner said.

“With final planning approval granted for the core facilities, construction will now begin on the newest, biggest and best exhibition and convention facilities in Australia.

“Over the next three years, Sydneysiders will see up to 10 cranes dot the skyline as Australia’s largest and first integrated major event facilities begin to emerge.

“Locals and visitors alike will benefit from increased parkland and improved pedestrian connections from Darling Harbour to Chinatown, Ultimo and Pyrmont.

“The transformed precinct will generate $5 billion in economic benefit during the next 25 years, and provide 3700 jobs during construction and a further 4000 jobs on completion.”

The core facilities alone will create about 1600 jobs during construction, and employment for about 1750 people when operating.

Planning Minister Brad Hazzard said the beginning of construction on the new facilities was a major milestone in the transformation of the precinct.

“The existing Sydney Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Centre at Darling Harbour will host its last event this weekend before closing its doors after 25 years of wonderful service,” Minister Hazzard said.

“While construction is taking place at Darling Harbour, Sydney’s major exhibitions will be taking place at the Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island with the first event scheduled for February 2014”.

Lend Lease estimates the end development value of the hotel and new city neighbourhood will reach $1.5 billion. These two developments are separate commercial agreements from the PPP.

Mr Stoner said finalising the financial arrangements for the PPP component of Darling Harbour Live was an important milestone for the project as well as the State’s massive infrastructure agenda.

“This Public Private Partnership ensures the Government retains ownership of the convention, exhibition and entertainment buildings but benefits from the project company’s skills and finances to deliver the benefits as soon as possible,” Mr Stoner said.

Mr Stoner said NSW’s last availability PPP was the Royal North Shore Hospital Redevelopment in 2008.

“In addition to Darling Harbour, the State will partner with the private sector for part of the North West Rail Link, CBD and South East Light Rail, F3-M2 motorway link and Northern Beaches Hospital as part of a pipeline of projects.

“Darling Harbour Live demonstrates that the private sector is keen to invest in NSW when projects are well defined and well managed.”

To view a a video animation of the proposed Darling Harbour precinct please click here.

The Darling Harbour Live project company comprises Capella, Lend Lease, HOSTPLUS, AEG Ogden and Spotless.

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