Controversial proposal for Sydney's Domain precinct prioritises cultural infrastructure | Kanebridge News
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Controversial proposal for Sydney’s Domain precinct prioritises cultural infrastructure

A bold plan for Sydney’s Domain carpark including four theatres has been aired but opponents question the location at the cost of valuable city greenspace.

By Robyn Willis
Thu, Sep 8, 2022 10:33amGrey Clock 2 min

A bold proposal to redevelop the Domain carpark into a performing arts precinct has been released, prompting a mixed response.

The plan put forward by leading architectural firm Grimshaw for four performance halls, including a 2,500 seat theatre, Indigenous cultural centre and rehearsal space would also include a revitalisation of the Woolloomooloo precinct, taking in the arterial William Street and older social housing.

Grimshaw managing partner Andrew Cortese said the scheme sought to address some of the transport incursions introduced over the past 30 years including the Eastern Distributor and Domain Tunnel through the creation of green roofs for the cultural facilities and landscaping following the natural slope of the land from the Domain down to Sir John Young Crescent.

“The second and much larger green space will be located on a land bridge to be built over the exit of the Domain Tunnel, presently on the doorstep of the new Sydney Modern gallery, covering this ugly roadway with a land bridge which can accommodate all the playing fields now residing on top of the Domain Car Park” Mr Cortese said.

Mr Cortese said while cities like Melbourne and international neighbours such Singapore, Kowloon and Shenzhen were investing in cultural infrastructure, Sydney was falling short.

However, NSW Cities Minister Rob Stokes said with city greenspace at a premium, there were concerns about development of this site, suggesting an arts precinct would be better located in Pyrmont, or placed closer to transport hubs in Western Sydney.

Mr Cortese said those sites had been considered but that the Domain precinct represented the best position in a post Covid CBD environment.

“The principal reason for the location is to reverse the trend of the City of Sydney tending to situate world-class cultural facilities facing the harbour – our traditional location for all our major cultural institutions – and actually situate them in the community of the city and in a vibrant, connected precinct,” he said.

In explaining why a location further west was not chosen, Mr Cortese said Grimshaw fully supported the creation of new cultural infrastructure in Western Sydney but until the opening of West Metro in 2030 there was very little in the way of public transport, aside from heavy rail.

Grimshaw has offices around the world, including Sydney, and is responsible for a wide range of influential public projects, with works spanning the arts, education and infrastructure in the US, China, the UK and more.

A development of this size of the Domain carpark would expect to take a couple of decades or more to come to fruition.

Grimshaw global practice lead for cities, Dr Tim Williams, said as Sydneysiders adopted a hybrid work model, the notion of CBDs being primarily about industry needed revisiting.

“We need to reimagine, revitalise and represent these precincts because with hybrid working now the norm much of their economic rationale and vibrancy has dissipated,” Dr Williams said. “Across the world we are seeing on the one hand stranded retail, office and hospitality assets but also initiatives to reinvent a city core’s attractors so as to ‘earn the commute’: that is, to give people in the suburbs special new reasons to come to town. 

“The kind of culture-led renewal we propose for East Sydney – as single use CBDs transition to more mixed use ‘central experience districts’ – will be crucial to the success of this strategy and give new reasons for international visitors to come too.”

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Luxury Rents Across 30 Global Cities Outpace Prime Sales Prices

Average prime rental values jumped by 5.9%, with some cities seeing jumps of more than 50%

By V.L. HENDRICKSON
Tue, Feb 7, 2023 2 min

The growth of luxury rental prices outpaced the sales market in top global cities last year, according to a report Monday from Savills.

Average prime rental values jumped by 5.9% in 2022 across the 30 world cities analyzed in the report, the data showed. Limited inventory and increased demand pushed rents higher, while capital values saw an average of 3.2% rise during the year.

“Rental growth came as people continued to return to cities after the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, and as rapidly rising interest rates in the latter half of 2022 meant that more people chose to rent,” Lucy Palk, an analyst at Savills World Research, said in a statement. “The rebound in international travel was a factor too, by the end of 2022 international arrivals had recovered to between 75% to 80% of 2019 levels.”

Meanwhile, average rents were up 10% or more in cities such as Singapore, New York, Dubai and Lisbon, Portugal, the report said.

For example, in New York, the median rent for properties in luxury, doorman buildings spiked 53% to almost $5,000 at the end of last year compared to $3,270 in December 2020, the figures showed.

And in Singapore, prime rents shot up by 26.2% annually as the country opened its borders and students, expats and high-net-worth individuals flooded the city. “Delayed completions of new prime stock further contributed to the significant rental rise seen in 2022,” the report said.

Climate, quality of life and strong business environments have been big draws for Lisbon and Dubai last year, where luxury rents were up 25.4% and 22.9%, respectively, according to the report.

The two strongest performing cities in the Asia Pacific region last year were Seoul, with 4.9% rental price growth, and Tokyo, 4.1%, the data showed.

On the flip side, Hong Kong had the lowest rental growth for luxury properties. The country is still subject to Covid-19-related restrictions, and has yet to see the full return of international tenants. In addition, rising interest rates have undermined consumer confidence.

“This suppressed transaction volumes causing pricing declines across all price brackets except the ultra-prime residences,” the report said. “Average prime prices fell by 8.5% in 2022.”

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