Parramatta CBD set for expansion under proposed plan

There’s good news for Parramatta’s commercial sector as a new plan to expand the City’s CBD boundaries and change land controls goes on public exhibition.

4 mins read


The plan, designed to unlock Parramatta’s CBD and strengthen its position as Sydney’s Central River City has been endorsed by the NSW Government.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the NSW government has worked closely with the City of Parramatta Council to progress the plan that will guide Greater Sydney’s second CBD, while also aiding the state government’s Covid-19 recovery plan.

“From increased building heights for a dynamic city skyline, to almost two million square metres of new commercial floorspace, new cultural spaces and fantastic public spaces, this proposal will shape the Parramatta CBD for generations to come.”

The Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal seeks to expand the City’s CBD boundaries and change land use controls to increase capacity for commercial opportunities and high-density residential development, supported by a revitalised night-time economy and open public space.

“This is a significant milestone and an exciting next step in the transformation of Parramatta as Sydney’s Central River City,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said.

“Council initiated this game-changing proposal to help us realise our vision for the Parramatta CBD – an economic leader with a thriving commercial centre that attracts world-class businesses and offers incredible lifestyle opportunities for residents.

“This proposal will help us capitalise on the unprecedented levels of interest and investment in Parramatta, and cement its place at the centre of global Sydney.

“We look forward to sharing these City-shaping plans with the community and seeking their feedback during the public exhibition period,” Cr Dwyer said.

Of particular benefit to commercial developers is the proposed expansion of the CBD’s commercial core, plus the introduction of incentives for new commercial floor space.

This expansion will be complemented by the proposal to allow a range of building heights across the CBD that consider impacts on public open spaces and heritage conservation areas while allowed heights up to the maximum allowable under flight paths.

The proposed plan will also ensure key public open spaces within the CBD are protected from overshadowing between 12 and 2 pm. This includes Parramatta Square, the Parramatta River foreshore, Lancer Barracks and Jubilee Park.

A revitalisation of Parramatta’s commercial district is already underway and this proposed plan will allow for even more commercial development.

Many developers are already backing the commercial precinct of Parramatta, banking on the market’s transformation continuing on the back of major infrastructure, education and health spending in the Central River City.

A key development is Parramatta Square, a $2.8 billion project, which Walker Corporation broke ground on in 2017. The purpose-built project will be home to six new state-of-the-art buildings and a refurbished Town Hall. By 2022, it’s estimated the precinct will house almost 24,000 professional workers, reflecting the city’s growing ability to attract highly educated talent in knowledge-based industries. Over 70% of the commercial space is already leased with the rest expected to be leased by the time Parramatta Square is completed.

As well as the Parramatta Square development, diversified fund manager GPT Group amalgamated a future development site on George Street in the heart of the Parramatta CBD for $75 million earlier this year with a site that covers nearly 3,000 square metres.

Additionally, property group Dexus has the approval to build a 33-storey office tower on George Street which, once completed will offer 45,800 square metres of A-Grade office space.

All of this development is no surprise given that office vacancy rates are tracking well in Parramatta. A report released in July 2020 by the Property Council Australia revealed that while office vacancy has increased by 1.3 per cent over the last six months in the Parramatta CBD from 3.2 per cent to 4.5 per cent, the region still remains in a strong position despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the world economy is experiencing significant challenges, Parramatta’s office market continues to have the lowest vacancy rate in New South Wales,” the Property Council of Australia’s Western Sydney Regional Director, Ross Grove said.

“Investors coming to Parramatta know there is a long-game at play - a shared vision exists which is supported by an unprecedented level of city-shaping investment in transport, health, education and social infrastructure over the coming decade. Parramatta’s continuing performance as one of the strongest office markets in the country reflects the ongoing strength of this vision.”

The Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal allows for 50,000 new jobs and 14,000 additional dwellings in the Parramatta CBD.

Following endorsement by the NSW Government, the Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal will go on public exhibition in the coming weeks for community feedback.