Article by Jacob Saulwick, SMH
Taxpayers are likely to bear only a small portion of the cost of a new $378 million metro rail station underneath Sydney’s existing Martin Place station, after the government completed a deal to sell the air rights above the station to Macquarie Group.
The investment bank will pay $355 million for the right to build towers to the north and south of Martin Place, Transport Minister Andrew Constance announced on Wednesday.
Once the new buildings are complete in about 2024, Macquarie is likely to make another payment to the government to reflect the increased value of the land.
“This is largely obviously the erection of two new commercial towers but more importantly for commuters a brand new metro station integrating into Martin Place Station and the T4 line,” Mr Constance said.
“It’s a tremendous outcome, I think, for amenity,” he said.
Under the terms of the deal, Macquarie Group will contract to Lendlease the construction of the new station, as well as new pedestrian connections through the area.
At the same time as the station is built, Lendlease will construct the retail space and commercial towers on top of the station.
According to the government, this is the first metro station development to be integrated in this way.
The deal is the result of an unsolicited proposal by Macquarie Group, which has its headquarters at 50 Martin Place.
Yet the towers proposed by Macquarie have been criticised by the City of Sydney for encroaching on the public domain.
The Independent Planning Commission also recommended that the towers be set at least 25 metres back from Martin Place. But the Department of Planning approved an eight-metre set-back.
Mr Constance, pointing to a scale model of the proposed towers, said the development was “phenomenal”.
“This integrates into the city,” the Minister said.
The metro station is part of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project, expected to cost between $11.5 and $12.5 billion.
That project will connect metro rail services from Chatswood, through a new line under the harbour and city, to Sydenham, where they will run on the existing Bankstown Line.