North Sydney – part of “a mobility revolution, even if Sydney doesn’t know it yet”

Victoria Cross over station development

Fast-tracked approval for a new six-star Green Star commercial tower in North Sydney connected to the Victoria Cross over station development will “set a new benchmark” for the CBD area, which Bates Smart director Philip Vivian says is having a “true renaissance”.

The Bates Smart-designed project, to be developed by Lendlease, follows a spate of new premium office development in the area, including 177 Pacific Highway (5 Green Star and 5 NABERS), 100 Mount Street (targeting a Shell & Core WELL Gold rating, 5 star Green Star and 5 star NABERS Energy) and 1 Denison Street (targeting 5 Star Green Star and NABERS ratings).

The three-building integrated station development surrounding the Victoria Cross metro station, including the recently approved $1.2 billion 42-storey commercial tower, is expected to bring a new level of amenity to the area, Vivian told The Fifth Estate, and help breathe extra life into the area in the evenings.

The tower project has been fast-tracked as part of the NSW government’s planning acceleration program designed to stimulate the economy, with the entire over station development expected to generate hundreds of construction jobs.

“North Sydney is already a strong commercial hub for Greater Sydney and this project will provide a much-needed boost, injecting $315 million into the economy and creating between 400-600 construction jobs,” Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said when he announced the project’s approval last week.

The tunnels have been dug and work on the station is expected to start next year. Once finished, it will accommodate up to 7000 office workers across 56,000 square metres of office and retail space.

The site will also have a building dedicated to food and beverage, and another building for coworking. There will be a through-site link, running east west, and an elevated laneway for cafes and restaurant and “other places to hang out”.

The development will contribute 1300 square metres of new public open space to North Sydney’s CBD, including a new “green spine” along Miller Street, which will consist of terraced lawns and gardens with plenty of access to sunshine.

Vivian says the intention is to achieve activation at the human scale on two or three dimensions and connect open spaces in the areas.

Traditionally a tech-heavy area, Vivian says it will be interesting to see if North Sydney retains this reputation. So far, the newer developments have attracted some high-profile tech tenants, such as SAP and Microsoft. 

Hard working shading devices key to the tower’s sustainability

The sustainability heroes of the main tower are the highly efficient mechanical HVAC system and intricate façade design, which includes cleverly angled glass and aluminium fins to protect the building from the afternoon sun.

These features should have it tracking towards a six star Green Star and 5 star NABERS rating, says Vivian.

The building is also aiming for Gold WELL certification, which the shading devices will also help by allowing lots of glass so that ample natural light seeps in.

To keep occupants visually comfortable as the sun starts to set, the building will be fitted with mechanical blinds to the west that will come back up in the morning.

Sydneysiders will be hit by a mobility revolution they didn’t see coming

North Sydney hit a bit of a lull in the 90s and 2000s but Vivian says the area has gone into serious growth mode over the past five years.

Despite Covid casting a shadow across the future of office districts, Vivian expects North Sydney’s CBD to take off when the expansion of Sydney Metro will see true turn-up-and-go mobility unlocked for Sydneysiders.

“It’s a mobility revolution, even if Sydney doesn’t know it yet.”

He says it will psychologically shift the way people experience the city when they know a train will never be more than a four-minute wait.

He says people will be more likely to linger for a drink or meal in a place like North Sydney, knowing they can quickly jump on a train to head home or to another part of the city.

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