The New South Wales Government has released Development Planning Applications for the development of the 20-hectare precinct at Darling Harbour stretching from Cockle Bay to Haymarket and Ultimo.

The appointed architects for the convention centre are Hassell, OMA and Populous while the NSW Government is partnering with Darling Harbour Live – a consortium including Lend Lease, Capella Capital, AEG Ogden and Spotless for the overall development of the precinct.

Ken Maher, HASSELL design leader on the project, said earlier this year that the development will bring a new level of public amenity for visitors and citizens through extended public parkland that is identifiably 'Sydney' in character.

“It will be a fusion of architecture and landscape, of indoors and outdoors, of engagement, education, living, creative working and entertainment. The project demonstrates the imperative of responsive design to sustain urban life at this critical time for our cities and communities,” Maher said.

Lend Lease will invest 50 per cent of the equity alongside the national industry super fund for tourism and hospitality, HOSTPLUS, in the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Through PPP, Darling Harbour Live has been contracted to design, build, finance, operate and maintain what will be Australia’s largest convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities.

The facilities, combined with improvements to the public domain at Darling Harbour, have a capital cost of about $1 billion.

MFEC from Tumbalong Park

In addition, two separate Project Development Agreements have been reached with Lend Lease to build a hotel of up to 900 rooms on the northern part of the precinct as well as a new city neighbourhood in Haymarket in the south.

The development of the convention centre building has attracted controversy as it will mean the demolition of the award winning Cox Richardson designed current convention centre.

International Convention Centre from Harbourside.

The event facilities and hotel are expected to be complete by the end of 2016, while the redevelopment of the residential and mixed-use development in Haymarket to be based on market forces and staged into the early 2020s. Lend Lease plan to lodge their Development Application for the hotel later this year.

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said:

“The development is the biggest and most exciting transformation of Darling Harbour in 25 years, and will deliver an estimated $5 billion in economic benefit for NSW.” 

Public Domain, Pier Street.

“In that sense, this project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the people of NSW to create one of the world’s best places to live, meet and be entertained," said Stoner.

The public release of two planning applications lodged by Darling Harbour Live and Lend Lease outlines:


  • The redevelopment of the core convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities and associated upgrades to the public domain.  This is a detailed Development Application for this part of the project. This part of the project will be delivered through a Public Private Partnership between the NSW Government and the Darling Harbour Live consortium.
  • The concept plan for The Haymarket outlining the broad plan for the area such as building envelopes and design parameters.  Detailed Development Applications will need to be lodged pending approval of the concept plan. This part of the project will be delivered through a separate Project Delivery


Haymarket Square

Stoner added that the precinct will boost employment in the area.

“The redevelopment of this critical precinct will provide a massive boost to the NSW economy, creating 3,700 jobs during construction and providing ongoing employment for 4,000 people across the precinct," he said

“The Government established strong urban design principles to make sure the proposed master plan combined modern facilities, improved public spaces and far better pedestrian connections to build Darling Harbour back into the fabric of the city,” Stoner said. 

To review the planning application, click here.

Aerial view from the west