By Megan Gorrey
Sydney’s inner south will be transformed under a City of Sydney plan to raise building heights along Botany Road, boosting the number of towers and opening the corridor to billions of dollars of commercial investment.
Buildings would top 17 storeys as part of the scheme to encourage office, entertainment and retail spaces, and boost the supply of affordable housing, on 57 hectares stretching from Redfern station to north Alexandria.
Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said the changes were among the most significant in the city in the past 20 years and would guide development in Redfern-Waterloo, which will receive thousands more homes and a Metro rail station.
“South Sydney is an amazing part of our city, rich with Indigenous and industrial histories – we are introducing new planning controls to ensure the area reaches its potential and thrives into the future,” Cr Moore said.
“The proposed changes will drive investment in commercial floor space, provide employment opportunities, and creative space for our community as well as affordable housing.”
Cr Moore said developers would be given the extra height and floor space as an incentive for investing in commercial and affordable housing developments.
Under the Botany Road precinct plans, blocks on Redfern’s Rosehill Street could reach 17 storeys, or 70 metres, up from the two-to-six storey buildings that predominate on the stretch from the station to McEvoy Street.
Buildings on Botany Road, opposite the Metro station, could top 12 storeys, or 50 metres. The buildings will add to more intensive development already planned for the area, with high-rise proposed above the rail station and three 30-storey towers planned for the redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate.
The scheme includes plans to revitalise Regent Street as a high street and nightspot, and includes provision for a network of laneways.
The North Alexandria precinct proposal would see the light industrial area turned into a “thriving, diverse, dynamic and creative modern employment precinct”, council papers say.
Building heights will mostly increase to create a mid-rise precinct, boosting office space, with blocks up to 60 metres.
The council previously identified north Alexandria as a future art, cultural and entertainment area with possible 24-hour trading.
Cr Moore estimated the planning schemes, to be debated at Monday’s council meeting, would generate more than 15,000 jobs across a variety of industries, to help meet future demand for employment in the area.
“We will also improve the public domain with widened footpaths, new cycleways and laneways to improve the area’s walkability and access to key transport hubs, including the new Waterloo Metro station,” she said.
Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Nathan Moran said the area’s history as the epicentre of Aboriginal culture should be incorporated into the site, preferably through Indigenous place names.
He said more social housing for local Indigenous people was required in addition to affordable housing for low-income workers.
Graham Jahn, who is the council’s director of city planning, development and transport, said the changes would boost floor space in the strategically important sites between Sydney’s city centre, the airport and Port Botany.
Mr Jahn said changes to planning controls would support growth in a “centralised, but often overlooked” spot and the investment in public spaces would “breathe life into older commercial and industrial areas”.
If approved by the council, the plans will proceed through the so-called gateway system, under which the state government reviews local planning proposals, for public exhibition.
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