PARRAMATTA will be Australia’s boomtown over the next five years with a projected $8 billion building explosion set to dramatically reshape the city’s skyline.
But urban planners warn the capital of Western Sydney will face worsening traffic chaos unless transport links to other western regions, including the potential airport at Badgerys Creek, are properly planned now.
Parramatta City Council planners have given The Daily Telegraph a glimpse of the city’s skyline of tomorrow, using updated development data. Within a decade, Parramatta’s CBD is expected to boast a dramatic skyline of towers, including Australia’s tallest residential building, the 90-storey Aspire tower.
With already 33 major projects on the drawing board, the gateway to the West could overtake Adelaide in coming years to become the nation’s fifth -biggest CBD, a former state government architect said.
An extra 838,000sq m of commercial office space — the equivalent of 140 football grounds — would be developed in Parramatta’s heart if all the planned projects get off the ground.
Parramatta Mayor John Chedid said he is encouraging architects to “be creative” and to build a skyline that is worthy of a vibrant and bustling capital city.
“We want to see creative, iconic designs — a legacy we can look back on in 25 years’ time and be proud,’’ he said.
The building boom is already taking off, with Mr Chedid revealing the council has received development applications worth $1.6 billion this financial year — more than double last year. Council planners said they expected a similar level of activity for up to five years, equating to a possible $8 billion of construction, mainly in the CBD.
BIS Shrapnel senior manager of infrastructure Adrian Hart said Parramatta had “the greatest growth potential of anywhere in Australia over the next five years’’.
He said the boom in residential apartment buildings would drive growth in Parramatta.
More than 3700 apartments and townhouses in seven upmarket projects have already been approved or are under consideration.
Work is under way on the luxury $309 million “V by Crown” tower, where more than $150 million worth of apartment sales have been racked up since the project was launched in Singapore two years ago.
The first two projects of the ambitious $1.6 billion, 3ha Parramatta Square project are close to be finalised — including the iconic Aspire tower, which will contain a swish inner-city hotel and up to 700 apartments.
Architectural drawings have also been released for the $250 million, 41-storey Riverside Tower, which will include a major upgrade of the Parramatta River foreshore.
An adjoining 1000-person conference centre will become Parramatta’s largest function space.
The development plans make a mockery of Labor MP for Chifley Ed Husic’s claims last week that the idea of Parramatta becoming Sydney’s second CBD should be shelved.
Urban Taskforce Australia chief executive Chris Johnson, who was the state’s most senior architect for 10 years, said if Parramatta was “humming with people and workers”, it would drive further development in Penrith and Liverpool.
“We need a vibrant cosmopolitan CBD with more people living in the centre,’’ he said.
Parramatta council believes an extra 100,000 jobs need to be created in its city area over the next 25 years to ensure residents can work within easy access to their homes.
Already two million Sydneysiders call the golden west home, with another million expected to move in over the next 20 years.
Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Ken Morrison said infrastructure investment in the West was needed to handle the growth.
“We encourage the city council and state government to do that thinking. You get traffic snarls in Parramatta at the moment. That will only get worse as more activity moves there,’’ he said.
Mr Chedid said the council hoped the government would sign off soon on a $20 million feasibility study into the $1.9 billion light rail project that would link Parramatta with Macquarie Park and Castle Hill. The council also needs funds to build a $36 million ring-road around the Parramatta CBD and Westmead over the next 10 years to avoid traffic chaos.