Sydney’s Darling Harbour is set to welcome a new inner-city neighbourhood, Darling Square, with the NSW government giving the green light to the first three stages of the plans last Friday.

Approval has been given for the construction of three towers, ranging from eight to 40 storeys high, above a five-storey podium. Comprising 538 residential apartments, the towers will also include 1,870sqm of non-residential floor space.

At the same time, works will begin on a 20 storey building consisting of 227 student accommodation apartments, and an eight to 12 storey mixed-use development with ground floor retail and over 22,000sqm of commercial office space.

The apartments and skyhomes will be designed by Denton Corker Marshall to capitalise on the city surrounds, with the physical attributes of life in the new neighbourhood – views, light and even cross breezes – factored into the creating the living spaces. SJB Interiors will design the interiors.

Other planned features of the five hectare precinct include new laneways, and a 20 metre wide boulevard connecting pedestrians from Cockle Bay through to the heart of Darling Square, and to Central Station and Sydney’s south. 

These public spaces, according to Lend Lease executive project director Rob Deck, will take up over 25 per cent of the site.

“These projects will transform this part of inner Sydney into a vital and vibrant residential and business community within a few minutes’ walk of the CBD and the colourful and exciting attractions of Chinatown and Darling Harbour,” said NSW Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner.

“With the redevelopment of the convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities next door and the ongoing work taking place at  Barangaroo, this area of the city is driving huge economic investment in NSW and will result in a complete reconfiguration of the western flank of the CBD.”

Darling Square is part of the $2.5 billion redevelopment of Darling Harbour, but is delivered by Lend Lease in a separate agreement to the Public Private Partnership between the State government and Darling Harbour Live consortium.

The new residential and creative quarter is expected to be home to 4,000 residents and 2,000 workers. Construction will begin later this year, with the residential towers to be completed by mid-2017.