Darling You Look Gorgeous

One of our tourist gems is set to sparkle once more with Darling Harbour being buffed to a shine in a more than $6 billion facelift.

And it’s not just jaw-dropping buildings that will turn heads, with a spectacular new park at Cockle Bay that will span the ugly Western Distributor among the plans. A record busting first year for the International Convention Centre (ICC) has sent a clear message that Darling Harbour is bursting with potential, and eager developers are responding with a raft of potential ventures.

One $1 billion project would, if approved, overcome the key barrier that cuts the area off from the city the hectic roadways between the water and the city. In addition to building a 235m office tower, a consortium of GPT Group, Brookfield Property Partners and AMP Capital wants to plant a vast green park extending across the top of the road.

“One of the key issues we have is the connection between the city and Darling Harbour. The Western Distributor is an impediment to that connection,” GPT’s Matthew Faddy said. “We have had very positive engagement with the various government authorities (on the plan).” The park would have capacity to host 20,000 people for events like New Year’s Eve, Vivid and Chinese New Year.
ICC boss Geoff Donaghy said in less than a year the convention centre has already attracted one million visitors, 30 per cent of them from overseas. And it is on target to inject an estimated $200 million into the Sydney economy. “The ICC has made an enormous contribution to the precinct,” Mr Donaghy said.

There is much more going on throughout the precinct.

Situated next door to the ICC, Sydney’s first new five-star hotel since the Olympics – the Sofitel – opened earlier this month.

A short stroll south is the $750 million Grocon Ribbon development, which has a new Imax cinema, luxury hotel and residential component, along with a park and playground on 10,000sq m of renewed public space.