Top 10 most important infrastructure developments in Sydney

With over $55 billion in it’s infrastructure pipeline, Sydney is set to undergo some major redevelopment in the coming years. Coupled with a huge number of new property developments throughout the city and surrounding areas, it’s no surprise that the skyline of the iconic city is changing quickly. The NSW government has also devoted most of its capital spending towards improved transport to address a number of inefficiencies and growing pains with the state’s population, which is forecast to reach more than 9 million by 2027.

The affluent city, which recently saw median house prices lift back above $1 million after a sharp downturn, is currently the 29th biggest economy in the world, with its GDP at $461 billion after growing by 2.6%. Such is the size of the Sydney economy this growth accounted for a full third of Australia’s total national growth.

From the city-shaping metro, to new urban centres circling the now under-construction second airport and high-rise commercial, hotel and residential offerings, the city is primed for development and growth.

Sydney Metro

One of the biggest projects in the city to date is the Sydney Metro. By 2024, 31 metro stations will stretch across 66 kilometres of Sydney, from Rouse Hill in the north-west, through Chatswood, under the harbour, through the CBD, and on to Bankstown in the south-west and Westmead in the west. The rail network will increase the number of services available across Sydney to 200 during peak hours (up 80 from the current 120), carrying about 400,000 people per hour.

18 stations are currently under construction. The first metro trains began operating in May 2019.

Bagerys Creek/Western Sydney Airport

Sydney’s second airport has been effectively in planning now for over 20 years. But now its finally happening. The 65,000 sqm airport will be known as the Nancy-Bird Walton Airport once opened, and has been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and Cox Architecture, well-known international and home-grown architectural firms.

Once operational in 2026, the Nancy-Bird Walton Airport will be able to handle 10 million passengers from both domestic and international flights. By the time all four stages of the project are complete in 2060, the airport is expected to handle 82 million passengers. To put that into perspective, the current Sydney Airport experienced 44.4 million passenger movements in 2018-19.

Major earthworks are currently underway, with construction expected to begin in 2022.



A new mega-precinct sitting next to the southern edge of the new Nancy-Bird Walton Airport, Aerotropolis will be home to commercial, agricultural, industrial and residential developments. Expected to attract new and emerging industries including aerospace and defence, agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, health care, freight and logistics, Aerotropolis will be divided into 10 precincts.

The first precinct of the project, known as Aerotropolis Core, is set to deliver 8,000 homes once fully developed. It will also be home to roughly 60,000 jobs. The second precinct (Northern Gateway) will deliver more than 22,500 jobs and 3,400 homes, with stage three, South Creek, will primarily deliver public spaces like parklands, restaurants and community facilities.

Japan multinationals Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group have signed two seperate agreements to ensure a presence in the new airport city. The University of Newcastle, University of NSW and University of Wollongong, and Western Sydney University will collaborate to provide educational institutions throughout the new mega-precinct.

The New Powerhouse Museum

The new powerhouse musuem
The new Powerhouse Museum

Perhaps one of the most controversial projects on this list, The Powerhouse Museum is currently relocating from inner-city Ultimo to Parramatta. It is the largest investment in arts and culture since the Sydney Opera House, to put its scale in context. Once complete, it will be the largest museum in New South Wales.

The new Powerhouse Museum will be home to some seriously impressive facilities. It will have a 30-metre wide domed planetarium with ultra-high resolution 3D video and audio, along with 18,000 sqm of exhibition and public spaces (up from the 15,708 sqm currently in Ultimo). The project is also set to deliver 60 creative residential studios.

Parramatta Square

Parramatta Square
Parramatta Square

Construction at the $3.2 billion Parramatta Square is now well underway. Due to be complete in 2022, the three-hectare precinct is expected to bring Parramatta’s CBD into the 21st century, with over 290,000 sqm of office and retail space.

The Parramatta Square precinct is also home to the new Parramatta Transport Interchange and Westfield Parramatta shopping centre. For residents throughout Parramatta, the are will be the place to shop, eat and relax once complete.

Quay Quarter

Quay Quarter
Quay Quarter

Another mixed-used development in Sydney is Quay Quarter. Rising 200 metres and delivering 97,000 sqm of space across two city blocks, Quay Quarter is a massive development with a distinctive architecture. Five distinct glass shapes will be stacked upon each other to improve views over the nearby Sydney Harbour and allow more daylight into the project.

Another element of the Quay Quarter development is the Young and Loftus mixed-use development, which is set to include 106 apartments. This element of the project will be completed in 2020.

Quay Quarter is currently on schedule to be complete in early 2022.

Salesforce Tower

Salesforce Tower Sydney
Salesforce Tower Sydney

Lendlease, along with China’s Ping An Real Estate and Japan’s Mitsubishi Estate Asia, have moved ahead on their 53-storey Circular Quay tower, which will have views across Sydney Harbour and will also be one of the country’s most sustainable buildings. Ping An is the majority partner, contributing 50% toward the development with Mitsubishi and Lendlease making up the remaining 30% and 20% respectively.

Salesforce will occupy 24 levels in the 53-storey tower on the former Jacksons on George site, previously known as 180 George or Circular Quay Tower, after securing naming rights late last year.

When Salesforce Tower Sydney is completed in 2022, it will be Sydney’s tallest office building.

One Circular Quay

One Circular Quay

A significant part of the Sydney waterfront’s multi-billion dollar rejuvination plan, One Circular Quay is located on the corner of George and Alfred Streets. Set to include 300 owner-occupier apartments, a hotel complex and several luxury shops and restaraunts, One Circular Quay is a very hotly debated project even though it hasn’t started construction yet.

Although it hasn’t started construction yet, the project has already changed hands multiple times. US investment group Blackstone originally owned the site until 2015, when it was sold to Dalian Wanda. After failing to find a builder thorugh a tender process last year, the site was sold on to Yuhu Group, along with the Jewel Gold Coast development. It is expected that Yuhu Group will begin the tender process sometime in 2020.

39 Martin Place

39 Martin Place
39 Martin Place

A high-profile development, 39 Martin Place will become part of Macquarie Group’s headquarters once it finishes construction. Set to integrate with a new metro station, 39 Martin Place is still a while off from being completed.

Macquarie won the right to build two towers at the north and south entrances of the future station after an unsolicited proposal to the NSW government in 2017 and went on to pay $355 million for the air rights in 2018. The 29-storey south tower is located on the site of the former Tiffany & Co flagship store and will have naming rights for its new owner. It will connect to their current headquarters at the heritage-listed 50 Martin Place.

The integrated station precinct will be completed in 2024.

Cockle Wharf Bay

Cockle Bay Wharf
Cockle Wharf Bay

A major redevelopment project, the Cockle Wharf Bay development is aiming to transform the inner Sydney precinct and reconnect Darling Harbour to the CBD. With three investor groups (GPT, Brookfield and AMP Capital) working together on the proposed 183-metre tower on the eastern edge of the harbour, it is evident that this redevelopment is expected to work.

Six architectural firms have been shortlisted as part of the international design competition, with the winner set to be announced later this year. The project, which spans a 24,900sq m development area, entails demolition of the existing Cockle Wharf Bay buildings, the Crescent Garden-Cockle Bay Wharf enclosed pedestrian bridge and the former monorail structure.

These projects represent some of the most impressive architectural feats throughout Sydney, and many also mark new stages in the development of the companies they are built for. These in

Written: 27 May 2020

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