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    NSW government set to lease heritage sites to fund Sydney’s public works program

    Branko Miletic

    The NSW state government will sell off 99-year leases for a number of iconic buildings across the state to help it fund its ambitious plans to improve public domain areas along the Sydney Harbour foreshore.

    This includes some select government-owned assets in The Rocks that have been allocated to the Restart NSW fund, with at least $200 million of any funds received reserved for the Circular Quay ferry wharf upgrade.

    According to Property NSW CEO Brett Newman, the first building to be looked at is 16-18 Grosvenor Street in Sydney, which he says, will be offered to the market via a 99-year lease.

    “The Rocks and Darling Harbour are two of the State’s most popular tourism precincts and we must continue to invest in them to ensure the visitor experience exceeds expectations,” Newman says.

    “The sale via long-term lease will deliver immediate funding to invest in our precincts while ensuring the property remains in government hands and is subject to heritage protections,” he says.

    The Grosvenor Street property, formerly known as the Housing Board Building, is listed on the State Heritage Register, having been built in 1921 to house the Resumed Properties Department which, in a twist of irony, itself played a major part in reshaping The Rocks and Millers Point. 

    Accoridng to a Property NSW spokesperson, the "NSW Government is committed to investing in the Sydney Harbour foreshore, including its popular precincts at The Rocks, Darling Harbour and Circular Quay." 

    "This investment, which includes the conservation of Pyrmont Bridge, the redevelopment of Cockle Bay Wharf, the Circular Quay ferry wharf upgrade, and the revitalisation of The Rocks precinct, will be funded through the long-term lease and/or divestment of government-owned assets deemed not to be of long-term strategic importance."

    "Any heritage properties leased or divested by Property NSW are accompanied by strict protections, including Conservation Management Plans (CMPs) endorsed by the Heritage Council of NSW," the spokeperson says.

    "In addition to these divestments," says the spokesperson, "Property NSW is also managing the sale of government-owned properties in Millers Point on behalf of Family and Community Services. The proceeds from these sales are reinvested into the supply of more than 1500 new social housing dwellings across NSW. "

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