The NSW Government has announced plans to develop the country's first high-tech hub at Sydney’s The Bays Precinct and is requesting fee proposals for the adaptive re-use of the area.
The basic brief is to repurpose the White Bay Power Station, which sits at one end of The Bays Precinct that is ear marked for development, into a hub for knowledge-intensive industries and to create a continuous waterfront promenade from Balmain to Pyrmont.
The plan was informed by more than 200 submissions to the ‘Call for Great Ideas’ process hosted by UrbanGrowth NSW which included design ideas from prominent architects for the adaptive reuse of the century-old power station and a continuous harbourside promenade.
Submissions for the power plant included a mixed use hub for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths by Woods Bagot named STEM City, as well as a Grimshaw architects-designed Green Power Park, which would convert the site into a source of renewable energy, powering a cluster of workplaces, cultural events and learning centres.
Ideas were also plentiful for the Balmain to Pyrmont waterfront promenade, and from the crop, submissions from Crawford Architects, GHD and COX Architecture were highlighted by UrbanGrowth.
Google Australia, who are currently based at nearby Pyrmont, gave a proposal of their own for the White Bay Power Station—a ‘Google Australia Innovation Hub’ which would provide a "porous" workplace for businesses, ideas engineers to interact and create.
The Bays Precinct masterplan, which incorporates 95 hectares of land stretching from the Sydney Fish Market at Pyrmont, through Rozelle Bay to the old White Bay Power Station, is expected to be developed over the next 20 years and will see the precinct divided into eight distinct areas.
The first step as set out by Baird will be to transform the towering power station, which operated from 1917 to 1983, into a high-tech hub that would rival London's Tech City or California's Silicon Valley.
“We have an opportunity as part of this to bring some of the best companies in the world right here to our harbour," explains NSW Premier Mike Baird.
"Universities will want to play a role, industries will want to play a role, start-ups will want to play a role.
"If the technology sector is going to grow [at] seven times the rest of the economy, it's clear we need more spaces, more opportunities for technology and that's what this is."
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