On Thursday 26th February I had the pleasure of attending the North Sydney Business Buzz 2019 hosted by the North Sydney Council. It was a great opportunity to learn about the changes taking place in the area, including key strategic planning projects and major developments.
James Marshall, Economic Development Coordinator, hosted the conference, engaging panelists:
- Dan Walker, Director in Charge – Sydney North, Colliers International,
- Jennifer Lawley, Senior Strategic Planner – Urban Design, North Sydney Council,
- Alec Brown, Senior Stakeholder Engagement, and Richard Hughes, Development Manager, Sydney Metro,
- James Winter, Director, Brand X.
Some key data and insights from the day:
The Office Property Forecast
2018 witnessed a significant drop in the vacancy rate in the rental property market in North Sydney. In July 2018 the overall vacancy rate declined to 6.3 percent. This reflects the lowest level of property availability North Sydney has experienced since January 2002 and is well below the 10-year average of 8.8 percent. The strong demand for rental property over the past six months has been underpinned by several large corporates migrating into North Sydney from other areas. New entrants to the market include Allianz relocating its IT division from the CBD to 5,654sqm at 101 Miller Street and Flight Centre
s moving from Chatswood to 5,600sqm at 60 Miller Street.
Tenants are also attracted to the improved connectivity that is set to take place in North Sydney. The first phase of the new Sydney Metro network, running through new stations at North Sydney, St Leonards, Chatswood, North Ryde, Macquarie Park and Macquarie University, is expected to be operational in mid – 2019.
The North Sydney CBD Public Domain Strategy
The North Sydney Council has incorporated feedback regarding the activation of the CBD Public Domain into their own public domain strategic planning. This includes the inclusion of activity-based infrastructures which are appealing to both residents and workers.
The public domain should provide areas which facilitate the gathering and movement of large numbers of people. There was also strong support for quality, activated pedestrian links that may require road closures or traffic changes.
An exciting plan for a Tramway Viaduct will open up more public spaces. It is hoped that more traffic will be drawn into North Sydney by 2024 when the metro from North Sydney CBD to City CBD starts running.
The Sydney Metro
As mentioned previously, the Sydney Metro opens up many opportunities to attract people into the North Sydney CBD. We were fortunate to hear the presentation delivered by Alec and Richard. Sydney Metro is Australia’s first fully-automated railway incorporating some Australian-first technology. Services start in mid-2019 on Sydney Metro Northwest between Rouse Hill and Chatswood and the extended services will start in 2024 under the harbour and through the CBD to Bankstown.
North Sydney will be transformed, with a $476 million contract awarded to deliver a new Sydney Metro railway station and the landmark building above it. There will be new retail spaces and improvements to the public domain around and nearby the new Victoria Cross Station.
The Role of Culture in Urban Development
Brand X has been re-purposing underutilised properties in Sydney since 2005, for Artists to have a place to undertake their craft, thereby promoting arts and culture in the community. In the past 15 years, they have successfully supported artists to contribute, flourish and be sustainable within the community thus advancing a healthy, connected and creative society.
On Friday 12th April, the public are invited to follow a trail through the TWT Creative Precinct studios (c.a. 4,500sqms, accommodating 70 artists and creative businesses) to discover the creative ideas that are transforming the Lower North Shore. This is a free program of exhibitions, performance, music and workshops for whole community.
The North Sydney Business Buzz had a great vibe which encouraged open discussions amongst local businesses, local communities and the local council. NSIN is very proud of our association with dynamic local councils like the North Sydney Council. We are also proud of our contribution to these councils and look forward to seeing the economic benefits they will bring to all stakeholders. This includes the promotion of open data, autonomous vehicles, good quality public WiFi, co-working spaces and smart cities which we proposed to the North Shore Mayor in April 2018. Our aim is to continue serving local councils in the innovation space, to promote the innovative culture on the North Shore and to help coordinate the function for the future.