North Sydney – be there or be squareJune 6, 2019 / By
The ‘North of Centre (NOC) Square’ is the North Sydney Council’s answer, at least in part, to the market’s lack of retail amenity and mixed-use space relative to its current office stock and future office supply.
Figure 1: NOC Square sits above the heart of North SydneySource: North Sydney – North of Centre Square Plan
The North Sydney office market has continued to grow in recent years. A number of office developments (Figure 2) are attracting organisations seeking space that is cost effective yet offers world-class harbour views and access to the Sydney CBD. Excavation works have begun for North Sydney’s new Victoria Cross Metro Station, which will improve the connectivity of North Sydney to surrounding markets.
Figure 2: A number of major projects are in the North Sydney pipeline
Source: JLL Research as at 1Q19
The metro station has concept approval for a 40-storey over-station commercial development with 60,000 sqm of office space. Both the over-station development and the remaining major office projects will equate to a combined 25% of existing office stock, and will result in an influx of office workers to North Sydney.
Issues have been raised within the North Sydney community around the impact of this development stock on the quality and liveability of the precinct. The daily workforce population is seeking a diverse range of amenities and the lack of amenity has been viewed as a limitation of North Sydney.
A long-term planning view of North Sydney is paramount to ensure that community, business, residential and transit demands are met simultaneously. An answer to this problem, at least in part, is the NOC Square. Bordered by Miller Street, Berry Street and McLaren Street, the North Sydney Council is planning to transform the existing commercial block into a mixed-use neighbourhood precinct with the aim of:
- Integrating with both the new Victoria Cross Metro Station and broader North Sydney
- Increasing the amount of pedestrian space and its walkability
- Establishing a hub for public life whether it be social, retail or night-life focused
- Strengthening the commercial centre by creating a square for people to gather
Figure 3: NOC Square is in close proximity to the new Victoria Cross Metro StationSource: North Sydney – North of Centre Square Plan
NOC square will become a vibrant, mixed-use and vertically integrated centre containing a number of retail, office, residential and public-focused spaces. The final masterplan was endorsed by local council in February 2019 and referred to strategic planners for an implementation strategy, although a development timeline remains unknown. Despite being a small precinct within North Sydney, there is hope that NOC Square will become a model for mixed-use urban regeneration and a catalyst for a more holistic transformation of North Sydney moving forward.
Figure 4: NOC Square proposed mixed-use plans
Source: North Sydney Stage 2 Ward Street Masterplan Post-Exhibition Report
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