Inside Sydney’s $250m new fish market at Blackwattle Bay and the 24-hour trading bid for Sydney's CBD

Render of proposed redevelopment of Sydney Fish Market in Blackwattle Bay. 3XN/BVN

The final design of Sydney’s new fish market has been unveiled with the $250 million harbour-side precinct to feature a roof inspired by fish scales.

The new market will be located nearby the current Pyrmont precinct at Blackwattle Bay and will feature a timber and aluminium roof inspired by fish scales floating over the building, the NSW government said on Tuesday.

It will have panoramic views of the Anzac Bridge and will feature a seafood cooking school, restaurants, bars, new public wharves, a waterfront promenade and a new ferry stop.

An artist’s impression of the new Sydney Fish Market.

An artist’s impression of the Danish-designed building that will house the new Sydney Fish Market.

The new Sydney Fish Market will house an expanded seafood cooking school, food kiosks, restaurants, bars and outdoor spaces.

“The Sydney Fish Market currently attracts more visitors annually than the Great Barrier Reef and accounts for around 20 per cent of international visitors to the Sydney region,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement.

“This brand new fish market will draw locals and visitors to Blackwattle Bay to experience the excitement of an authentic market and auction floor, and taste some of our finest seafood in state-of-the-art surrounds.”

Construction for the new facility is expected to begin in mid-2019 with Sydney Fish Market to continue to operate uninterrupted during construction.

The new fish market is expected to open in 2023.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL

The Sydney Fish Market is relocating to a site adjacent to its current position backing on to Wentworth Park.

The NSW government has unveiled plans for a significant redesign of Blackwattle Bay, shifting the Sydney Fish Market to a new home, displacing heavy industry and opening new tracts of inner-city homes and shops.

The $250 million transformation, announced on Sunday by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, would house the fish market in a new Danish-designed building next to its current spot, backing onto Wentworth Park on the south side of the bay.

Ms Berejiklian said she hoped new use of the current site would pay for its redevelopment, costing taxpayers nothing.

The shake-up would also force concrete contractors Hymix and Hanson to shift from the area, which has been criticised for high pollution levels in the past.

Sydney Fish Market currently attracts more visitors annually than the Great Barrier Reef.

The current fish markets in Pyrmont. Picture: Julian Andrews

The current fish market, at its original location in Pyrmont.CREDIT:LIDIA NIKONOVA

“The Sydney Fish Market is an iconic part of our city but there’s no doubt it needs a huge makeover,” Ms Berejiklian said. “I know, with a makeover, there will be even more tourists and even more locals enjoying this.”

Work on the site is set to begin in late 2018, with construction expected to be completed in two to three years. The new building will be designed by Danish designers 3XN Architects, which are behind Sydney’s Quay Quarter Tower.

Sydney Fish Market Pty Ltd general manager Bryan Skepper said the development would create “the world’s best fish market” and absorb expanding visitor numbers.

“At the moment we get 3 million visitors a year to the site and our modelling predicts that could go to 6 million,” he said.

Barry Mann, head of the projects portfolio at UrbanGrowth NSW said the brief was “to create a world-class food and dining destination on the inner harbour that will be dynamic, sustainable, and sympathetic to the local area”.

Standing on its current site since 1966, the Sydney Fish Market has been the subject of speculation for several years, with many investors reportedly interested in developing it.

The owners, Sydney Fish Market Pty Ltd, reported a $978,000 net profit after tax last financial year, down from $1.7 million the year before. The company spent several hundred thousand dollars in a legal dispute involving Robert Deans, a real estate developer who had had a rival vision for the market redevelopment.

A spokesman for the Premier said social and affordable housing would be considered, while the government looked at “a range of options” to beat traffic congestion. The spokesman would not comment on compensation for the heavy industry displacement, declaring it commercial in confidence.

The City of Sydney sat on the selection panel choosing the tenderer for the new market and said it was satisfied with the process.

“The City is supportive of the Sydney Fish Market remaining in Blackwattle Bay and not being relocated to another area of Sydney,” a spokeswoman said.

24-hour trading bid for Sydney’s CBD to revive the city’s night-life

Existing and proposed 24-hour trading areas in Sydney’s CBD.CREDIT:CITY OF SYDNEY

Shops and businesses will be allowed to trade around-the-clock throughout central Sydney under a planned bid to transform the city’s after-dark economy and encourage more night-time venues.

Small bars will also be able to stay open later in inner city areas such as Glebe and Surry Hills, and buzzing late-night trading precincts will emerge in fast-growing residential areas like Green Square.

Those are among changes the City of Sydney is proposing in response to its first review in a decade of the planning controls that decide trading hours and locations of night-time premises across the city.

Lord mayor Clover Moore said the council’s proposed changes to late-night trading were in response to “overwhelming” public feedback in favour of “a diverse and exciting night-time economy”.

“What people do not want is a city that is unsafe or that shuts down as soon as the sun goes down,” she said.

The plan aims to transform the city’s after-dark economy.CREDIT:CHRISTOPHER PEARCE

Cr Moore said the changes “set the foundations for a truly 24-hour Sydney into the future” and struck a balance between allowing well-managed venues to continue to trade and any potential impacts on local neighbourhoods.

The planned 24-hour trading zone for the city’s centre would stretch from Darling Harbour to Hyde Park, and south to Central station. Most businesses in that area can already trade until 5am.

The extended trading hours would not affect the NSW government’s controversial 1.30am lockout laws that apply to clubs and pubs across Sydney’s CBD and Kings Cross.

But they would mean unlicensed shops and businesses, such as bookstores, clothing shops, banks, drycleaners and hairdressers, could trade around the clock.

Sydney Business Chamber president Patricia Forsythe supported the idea “in principle” and said it would give other businesses, such as shops and eateries, more options and greater flexibility.

“That said, many businesses won’t take it up in the short-term. A night-time economy may evolve over time, but just because you change the zoning it doesn’t evolve as a matter of course.

Ms Forsythe said there was also “obviously going to be a cost factor” for many businesses.

“For some businesses, keeping a door open 24 hours isn’t viable, because there’s not the patronage,” she said.

Cr Moore said more late-night venues in the city centre might eventually reduce crowds, queues and noise at busy night-time hotspots at Newtown and along George Street.

24 hours trading may soon become a reality for Sydneysiders.

The council has also proposed extending trading hours from midnight to 2am for shops and “low-impact” businesses, including small bars, licensed cafes and restaurants, in “local centres” such as Glebe and Surry Hills.

The council’s planning policy manager, Ben Pechey, said the changes reflected strong community feedback for more late-night venues outside the city centre.

“We’re trying to get a more dispersed approach to late-night trading in appropriate precincts,” he said.

“People were really interested in having options where they live.”

Venues that wanted to extend their trading hours would be subject to trial periods, and in some areas they would only apply if patrons entered and exited from a main street.

New late-night trading precincts would also be established in areas such as Barangaroo, Green Square and Danks Street at Waterloo to cater to booming residential populations.

Existing late-night trading areas in Chippendale, Redfern west Surry Hills and parts of Potts Point would be expanded.

An industrial area in North Alexandria has also been earmarked as a 24-hour trading precinct to encourage its use as a future arts, culture and entertainment precinct.

Cr Moore said the planned night-time precincts had been chosen for their proximity to public transport, including stations for the Sydney Metro which will eventually run 21-hours a day.

“We’re hoping that there will be extensions of buses and trains, particularly trains,” she said.

Sydney Fringe Festival chief executive Kerri Glasscock believed the proposed reforms offered the “best possible chance” for Sydney to revive its night-life.

“It has identified potential future areas and safeguarded them for cultural use, it has acknowledged night-time businesses that do provide cultural opportunities and offerings are unique and should be rewarded if they’re not at risk, and and it’s also highlighted the need for us to increase our 24-hour offering as a global city.”

Councillors were briefed on the draft planning controls on Monday afternoon. They will vote on the proposed changes later this month before they are put on exhibition for public feedback.

The proposed reforms were informed by more than 10,000 residents and visitors surveyed on the city’s nightlife earlier this year.

Sydney’s night-time economy is worth more than $4 billion to the NSW economy each year and employs more than 35,000 people.

Source: “Inside Sydney’s $250m new fish market at Blackwattle Bay”, The Daily Telegraph, November 6, 2018. Alexandra Smith, “Built on the water with fish scale roof: Sydney’s new look fish market” The Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2018. William McInnes, Patrick Begley, “Sydney Fish Market to get a $250 million makeover on new Blackwattle Bay site”, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 25, 2017. Megan Gorrey, “24-hour trading bid for Sydney’s CBD to revive the city’s night-life”, The Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2018.

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Inside Sydney’s $250m new fish market at Blackwattle Bay and the 24-hour trading bid for Sydney's CBD