Monday, 4 July 2016

2007: 52 Goulburn Street is completed (Evolution of World Square)

Our long trip through the Evolution of World Square now hits the end as we now look at the final tower to be built, which is now 52 Goulburn Street.

Under the Kenzo Tange Scheme of 1985, the building on the site was to play host to the third tallest building on the block. However the floor to space ratios that were allowable for World Square (excluding Hordern Towers) meant that only two of the three towers could be built if they stuck to maximum heights. Otherwise building heights for the remaining two buildings would have to be reduced.

Then Meriton got the North West corner of the site and that again would impede any future development. Multiplex wanted their big office building at 680 George street and that meant nothing more than 12 levels could be built at the corner of Goulburn and Pitt Street.

Around 2003, there was a plan though for an apartment tower on that corner. With planning rules more relaxed for unit buildings, you could still get the space to build a tall tower, but still would fall short of Hordern Towers. It was around 30 floors. Below was a possible scheme that dated back to 2004.

A 2004 Scheme for an apatrtment tower of roughly 30 levels. Photo taken by the Author.
Multiplex stuck to a 12 level office building which would become the home of the Australian Tax Office (ATO). Its height was just 53 metres, only 20 % of the height of its tallest neighbour - World Tower.

52 Goulburn Street under construction. Photo taken by the Author). 

Work began just one year after Latitude was completed in 2006 and finished just a year later.

52 Goulburn Street (2010). Photo taken by the Author.

And there we have it, we have answered the question as to how World Square came to be what it is today. It is a centre of activity for the southern end of Sydney's CBD, a place where people can live, work, shop and gather in the one place. Did it fulfil its objective - I'd say yes it has, though it has to be scaled down from the original ambitions. The challenge though with Ernst & Young departing the area for 200 George Street, it leaves a huge hole in terms of attracting a major commercial tenant to base their Sydney operations there. The question that I am left to ask - What is it that holds companies from going there? Is it the ambition to get prized harbour views? Is it transport access (compared to the harbour end of the CBD, public transport is better). Is it proximity to city landmarks?

Turn your heads south and look towards Broadway where the educational institutions are based. Wouldn't having access to those institutions and their facilities help a business that wants to prosper in the connected world that we live in? The future workforce is there as well. It smack bang between Town Hall and Central Railway Stations, which provides easy access to rail that the financial heart of the city cannot offer and light rail running at the door from 2019.