Macquarie Bank wants to build a giant office and train precinct spanning Sydney's Martin Place

Macquarie Bank wants to turn the area surrounding its historic Sydney HQ into a massive integrated office development that connects the existing Martin Place train station with the new Sydney Metro station.

Macquarie made an unsolicited proposal to the NSW government about the project – the same method James Packer utilised for his hotel and casino development at Barangaroo – and it passed the initial hurdles to stage 3, meaning the bank will now develop a final and binding proposal that, if it passes the set criteria, only needs to be signed off by the NSW Cabinet. The deal would give the banking and infrastructure group the power to develop the station area as well as the above ground sites.

The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet told Business Insider the Macquarie plan needs to convince the NSW Government that its proposal is unique and has a better outcome than the government’s existing Martin Place metro development.

“This proposal does not affect the Sydney Metro delivery timetable,” a spokesperson said. “The government is moving forward with Sydney Metro delivery while this proposal is being assessed at the same time.”

The Martin Place metro station is due for completion in 2024.

An artist’s impression of the northern tower in Macquarie Bank’s proposal for Martin Place.

The DP&C spokesperson said the idea will be assessed under the usual planning approval process, and the community will be encouraged to have its say on the plans.

The bank’s proposal spans Martin Place underground, also combining the above ground sites to the north and south of the award-winning, heritage-listed 1928 bank building it restored as its headquarters, which it plans to tunnel underneath to create the connection. It says the integrated station and over-station development allows for a design that would offer natural light down to the platform level.

The bank’s 50 Martin Place headquarters are included in the design to provide an all-weather walkway from Martin Place to Hunter Street, with the potential to connect through to O’Connell Street. Macquarie says the concourse would also help disperse pedestrian traffic in and around what will become Sydney’s largest and busiest CBD station.

The bank compares its idea to New York’s World Trade Centre station, and wants to include public art throughout the precinct.

Macquarie Capital executive director Will Walker said integrating the station and over-station design and delivery allows for better use of space and natural light, and allows for features that improve convenience for station users.

“Our integrated proposal has been strongly influenced by the City of Sydney’s 2030 plan which outlines what Sydneysiders want from their city including: a place for people of all walks of life, a vibrant culture and entertainment, and public spaces that invite humanity,” he said.

“We believe our proposal delivers on these expectations and offers a substantial contribution to protecting Martin Place’s heritage and enhancing the revitalisation currently taking place to ensure it remains relevant to generations to come.

“If the NSW Government approves our final proposal, we understand the responsibilities that come with delivering such important transportation and civic infrastructure. We have assembled a team of internationally-recognised specialists who will work with us to achieve an outcome in keeping with the expectations of the State and the community.”

An artist’s impression of the southern tower.

Macquarie’s proposal includes two commercial towers and the bank will be a tenant. The designs have yet to be finalised but an early artist’s impression of the northern tower behind the current heritage building as a large glass lipstick-shaped tower rising behind the sandstone edifice.

Late last year, the NSW government struct a deal with ASX-listed property group Dexus, paying them $332 million for 39 Martin Place, the 20th-floor office tower Macquarie hopes to turn into the southern tower in its development.

The government is buying 150 properties between Sydney’s CBD and Bankstown for the line, which will include stations at Barangaroo, Pitt Street, and Waterloo, as well as a major underground interchange in Martin Place as part of 15.5km of rail tunnels from Chatswood to Sydenham.

Source: Simon Thomsen, “Macquarie Bank wants to build a giant office and train precinct spanning Sydney’s Martin Place”, Business Insider Australia, March 17, 2017

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Macquarie Bank wants to build a giant office and train precinct spanning Sydney's Martin Place