Monday, 24 July 2017

1987: Early Highrise Proposal for 400 George Street

A contact of mine at Sydney City Council - Richard Braddish has mentioned to me and other highrise enthuaists that there was a major proposal in the late 1980's for an office tower at 400 George Street.

We ended up with an office tower a decade later, but shorter than what was envisioned.

Source: Jackson, D. 1987. "Up, up and Away". SMH Style (The Sydney Morning Herald), January 15, 4.  

The 1987 proposal would see the tower rise 43 levels above George Street. The architect was Andrew Metcalf. His scheme proposed that the tower would rise above a five storey retail podium, retaining facades of historic buildings, yet adding a human element to it. The tower itself would rise set back from the podium.

400 George Street as viewed from Sydney Tower. Photo taken by the Author (2012).

It would be a decade before an office tower was built on the site, following the collapse of the property market at the end of the 1980's combined with reduced demand for office space in central Sydney. However it only rose 35 levels or 138 metres above street level.

The retail complex became known as the Sydney Arcade which followed an arc from King Street through to the Pitt Street Mall. It offers high end retail. If the original scheme had gone ahead, we probably might have ended up with a retail complex like the Glasshouse and Mid City Centre as originally built in those times with disjointed layouts etc. In fact we might have seen a redevelopment of it to compete with the offerings of the current Pitt Street Mall.

Photo taken by the Author (2004)