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This ambitious development plan will transform Sydney’s Central Station precinct

By Robyn Willis
Mon, Aug 22, 2022 10:16amGrey Clock 2 min

Sydney’s Central Station precinct is set for a major redevelopment with the announcement of an ambitious plan to build a 24ha deck on top of the station.

The masterplan, which was released today, includes plans for 15 buildings and three parks and is expected to take 10 to 15 years to complete. The deck will bridge parts of Central and Ultimo that have been disconnected since the railway was built in 1874.

NSW Premier Dom Perrottet described the project as a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

“It will reimagine this iconic part of our CBD and transform it into a world-class precinct of shops, restaurants, office spaces, parkland and additional housing,” he said.

Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport Rob Stokes said at least 30 percent of the Central Precinct Renewal will be devoted to public housing, as well as providing a new public square and social services hubs.

“This proposal will heal parts of our city that have been torn apart since the railway divided Surry Hills from Ultimo back in 1874,” he said. “The proposal includes multiple new over-rail connections including Devonshire Street bridge, to enhance pedestrian and bicycle access through Central Precinct and to surrounding neighbourhoods.” 

CEO of the Committee for Sydney, Gabriel Metcalf, said while the committee welcomed the positioning of the development around public transport hubs, there were significant challenges to overcome.

“The real test is whether they can resolve the public realm issues of such a complicated site, with level changes and lots of passenger movements, to make it feel like a nice place to be,” he said. “Over station developments are notoriously tricky, and places like the Hudson Yards in New York have achieved only mixed success.

“For all of those reasons, this is going to be one of the most closely watched projects in Sydney: an incredible opportunity, but also one that will be quite a challenge.”

No official budget has been released but estimates put the work at $2 billion to $3 billion.

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RMIT expert says a conflation of factors is making the property market hard than ever to predict

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A leading property academic has described navigating the current Australian housing market ‘like steering a ship through a thick fog while trying to avoid obstacles’.

Lecturer in RMIT’s School of Property Construction and Project Management Dr Woon-Weng Wong said the combination of consecutive interest rate rises aimed at combating high inflation, higher property prices during the pandemic and cost of living pressures such as the end of the fuel excise that occurred this week made it increasingly difficult for those looking to enter or upgrade to find the right path.

“Property prices grew by approximately 25 percent over the pandemic so it’s unsurprising that much of that growth ultimately proved unsustainable and the market is now correcting itself,” Dr Wong says. “Despite the recent softening, the market is still significantly above its long-term trend and there are substantial headwinds in the coming months. Headline inflation is still red hot, and the central bank won’t back down until it reins in these spiralling prices.” 

This should be enough to give anyone considering entering the market pause, he says.

“While falling house prices may seem like an ideal situation for those looking to buy, once the high interest rates, taxes and other expenses are considered, the true costs of owning the property are much higher,” Dr Wong says. 

“People also must consider time lags in the rate hikes, which many are yet to feel to brunt of. It can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months before an initial change in interest rates eventually flows on to the rest of the economy, so current mortgage holders and prospective home buyers need to take this into account.” 

 

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