Sydney’s Central Station Overhaul Could Exceed $3bn

Internal government documents have revealed that the transformation of Sydney’s Central Station will include a five-star hotel, high-rise towers and the relocation of an existing light-rail stop, and could cost in excess of $3 billion.

In leaked documents seen by the ABC and Fairfax Media, the cost of upgrades at the main Central Station terminus would cost $2 billion and would include new platforms, shops, restaurants and a hotel featuring 180-rooms. An existing light rail stop would need to be relocated to Pitt Street for the hotel plan.

The costs to incorporate the new metro train line into the station are estimated at $750 million. Central Station is the country’s busiest train station. Overcrowding fears particularly in pedestrian tunnels are apparent as peak hour traffic will escalate.

A further $1 billion would be set aside for projects near the station including commercial towers, residential apartments and retail.

Three commercial towers would be built on Lee Street costing $300 million, with another $300 million slated for shops and low-rise residential apartments on rail sidings near Prince Alfred Park. A $100 million overhaul would be spent on nearby Henry Deane plaza.

A 1903 heritage-listed post office building, a YHA hostel and other nearby properties would be forcibly acquired by planners, with tenant evictions and repurposing of the site for three office towers up to 40 storeys high, according to the documents.

The Sydney Morning Herald quotes a spokeswoman for Transport for NSW saying the government had made no decision about further development of the Central Station precinct.

“Initial consultation has taken place with industry, stakeholders and the public, and further engagement is expected in the new year,” she said.

“Any decision to proceed with development at the station will have to be subject to rigorous economic appraisal and Cabinet consideration.”

Funding could be expected to flow from developers and revenue generated from a large increase in shop and office space.

[Related reading: New City Metro Stations to Shape Sydney]

Many of the projects are years away and may not be approved. Work has begun however on incorporating the metro train line into the station.

Stage one of Sydney Metro, covering the north-west section from Rouse Hill to Chatswood, is due to be operational in 2019. A seven-team consortium was unveiled earlier this year to design six of the seven new train stations that will become part of the greater metro line — Crows Nest, Victoria Cross, Barangaroo, Martin Place, Pitt Street and Waterloo.

Sydney Metro is the biggest urban rail infrastructure investment in Australia’s history.

Sydney Metro, together with signalling and infrastructure upgrades across the existing Sydney rail network, will increase the capacity of train services entering the Sydney CBD – from about 120 an hour today to up to 200 services beyond 2024.

[Related reading: John Holland and Laing O’Rourke Win contract for Sydney Metro Station]

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