26 Jun 2008

The Barangaroo Project

by Gary Best, Nicole Vasin

The Barangaroo site will be transformed into an international benchmark for urban waterfront renewal.

The NSW Government has embarked on one of the biggest and most exciting urban renewal developments for Sydney spanning the next two decades. Barangaroo (formerly East Darling Harbour) is located on the Sydney Harbour Foreshore adjacent to Australia’s financial centre. This area will be transformed into an international benchmark for urban waterfront renewal, similar to the likes of Canary Wharf in London and Battery Park and Battery City in New York.

The Barangaroo site

The Barangaroo site is 22 hectares with an approved built space of 388,300m² of gross floor area. The site will comprise 11 hectares of public domain which is expected to include a 1.4 kilometre public foreshore promenade and parklands, including a new headland park at the northern end of the site. The NSW Government, through the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, will retain ownership of the land on which the public domain will be constructed.

Barangaroo will complete a 14 kilometre pedestrian foreshore promenade between Woolloomooloo and the ANZAC Bridge.

International urban design competition

The NSW Government held an international urban design competition during 2005 and 2006 for the purposes of:

  • exploring urban form issues and the relationship of Barangaroo to its surrounds; and
  • generating public discussion about the opportunities arising from a renewal of the site.

The winners were Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects, Paul Berkemeier Architect and Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture. They worked with the NSW Government to transform their ideas into an application for Concept Plan approval, which was exhibited to the public in October 2006.

The Concept Plan

The NSW Minister for Planning granted consent to the Concept Plan for the site on 9 February 2007, under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW), such approval being modified in September 2007.

Barangaroo was rezoned for mixed use and public domain purposes through amending Schedule 3 to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Projects).

The Concept Plan Approval contemplates that the Barangaroo Project will encompass:

  • a mixed use development with 388,300m² of gross floor area, specifically for commercial, residential, tourist, retail and community uses;
  • a mixed use zone developed on eight development blocks;
  • 11 hectares of new public open space, including a public foreshore promenade, and extensive public domain landscaping comprising parks, streets and pedestrian connections;
  • new water insertions at the southern and northern ends of the site;
  • car parking under the new headland park to ensure community access to the park;
  • the preparation of a range of implementation plans covering transport, infrastructure, social issues, design excellence and housing; and
  • an area for active uses that support the public domain with the public recreation zone.

Stage 1 EOI

The Authority has responsibility for managing all tender processes for the design and development of Barangaroo. A Call for Expressions of Interest to design and develop Stage 1 was issued in April 2008. Responses to that call were received in early June and the Authority is evaluating and assessing those responses. A shortlist of proponents will be invited to participate in the second stage of the call program, which will comprise a Request for Detailed Proposal.

Stage 1

It is expected that the consortium selected by the Authority to develop Stage 1 of the Barangaroo project will be granted development rights by the Authority to:

  • design, fund, develop and deliver the land and the first four buildings at the southern end of the site (Development Blocks 1-4), comprising a total of 322,300m² of gross floor area;
  • enlarge the existing cove at the southern end of the site and activate surrounding areas;
  • design, fund and deliver the public domain, waterfront parklands and the foreshore promenade adjoining Development Blocks 1-4;
  • design, fund, develop and deliver infrastructure to support Development Blocks 1-4 and the adjoining public domain; and
  • remediate land comprising Development Blocks 1-4 and land on which the fifth building on the site will be developed, certain public domain areas adjoining Development Blocks 1-4 and that fifth building, and possibly certain parts of Hickson Road.


A project of this scale provides significant economic, environmental and community opportunities for Sydney and New South Wales. The project is expected to generate $2.5 billion in construction, thousands of jobs for Sydney and New South Wales communities, and a projected end value of $4 billion.

The Clayton Utz team, led by Gary Best and Peter McMahon, is excited to be the principal legal advisers for the project and looks forward to assisting the Authority with legal matters associated with the project.

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