Parramatta’s future: Sydney’s second CBD

February 6, 2017 / By  

The media over recent years has highlighted Parramatta as “Sydney’s second CBD”. Parramatta is located approximately 23 km west of the Sydney CBD. In 2013 the NSW Government announced its “Decade of Decentralisation” policy. One of the key objectives of this policy was to relocate government jobs from the Sydney CBD to regional NSW and Western Sydney. The idea was to relocate government workers so that they are closer to the people they service, as well as helping stimulate jobs growth in these precincts. Parramatta has been a beneficiary of this decentralisation policy and has resulted in major pre-commitments to two new office developments in the market. These developments are:

  • 105 Phillip Street, Parramatta (22,292 sqm), which has been 100% pre-committed by the NSW Department of Education. Approximately 1,800 jobs will be relocated from the CBD.
  • Stage 4 – Parramatta Square (75,000 sqm), of which 62,000 sqm has been pre-committed by Department of Planning and Environment, the Office of Environment and Heritage, the Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. Approximately 2,500 jobs will be relocated from the CBD, and 1,600 from within Western Sydney to the new development.

Parramatta is a diverse market with a strong private sector presence. Seven of the top 30 ASX listed companies by market capitalisation have a significant space footprint in the market. National Australia Bank (the world’s 23rd largest bank by market capitalisation) has also 100% pre-committed to Stage 3 – Parramatta Square (35,069 sqm).

To put the size of aforementioned developments into context, the Parramatta office market totals approximately 687,500 sqm of Net Lettable Area (NLA). We track approximately 297,200 sqm of prime grade office stock in Parramatta. The three developments alone will add an additional 45% to prime office stock in the Parramatta CBD. More so, these moves could attract service providers to these large tenants, further spurring office demand in Parramatta.

Figure 1: Parramatta Light Rail and educational institutions
Source:, JLL Research

Infrastructure development will also add to the connectivity of Parramatta to surrounding markets. Figure 1 shows the preferred route to the multi-billion dollar Parramatta Light Rail project. This will connect the Westmead medical precinct and the SOP/R office market[1] to Parramatta. Over AUD 1 billion dollars has already been invested in Westmead to redevelop it into a world class medical research precinct. Also, a draft 2030 master plan for SOP/R has was released in 2016, which highlighted the need to establish the SOP/R precinct as a mixed-use residential/retail, balanced with education and commercial buildings.

If the Parramatta Light Rail goes ahead, it will create an educational corridor spanning 10km from Westmead through Parramatta to SOP/R. This education cluster could have positive spillover over benefits to surrounding business, who could actively seek to employ these knowledge workers. In turn this could attract additional tenants to the market.

Parramatta being referred to as “Sydney’s second CBD” has gained momentum over the past year. Recent commitments from government and private sector tenants strengthen this claim as Parramatta transforms and interconnects with surrounding markets.

[1] This market totals approximately 281,800 sqm, all of which is considered prime grade stock.

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