Monday, 20 August 2018

1987: CBD-1 - The tallest building ever proposed for Sydney


Source: Laurence, M. 1987. "Govt lift for world's tallest tower plan". The Sydney Morning Herald, June 24: 1. 


Sydney is certainly building upwards in 2018. Some might feel that the towers proposed for Central Sydney might appear too tall, but in 1987 Octavius Developments proposed what would have been at the time, the world's tallest building in Sydney.


Source: Morris, L. 1987. "Reach for the sky is step to future". The Daily Telegraph, June 24: 8.

The site is where the Cove Apartments is located (Harrington Street) was to host a office tower 445 metres tall. This is five metres taller than the Wills Tower in Chicago, which was 440 metres tall. CBD-1 would beat the record by five metres.

The building was to accommodate 11 000 workers over 95 levels with approximately 1500 car parking spaces underground.



Source: Anon. 1987. "Untitled" (Artists Impression). The Daily Telegraph, June 29: 5.

The modular design of the tower allowed for a possible increase from 95 to 150 levels in the future. St Patricks Church would be restored and a new city park would be created on the block.


Source: Anon. 1987. "Hitting the heights of technology". The Daily Telegraph, June 29: 5.

In the end this was a pipe dream despite the talk. This disappeared as quickly as it appeared. While The Sydney Morning Herald reported on June 24, 1987 that the State Government was prepared to support Octavius Developments (even increase the height of the tower), it decided review building heights for city buildings. In August 1987, it was reported by The Sydney Morning Herald that Planning Minister Bob Carr was going to review city building height limits. The Department of Public Works had raised concerns about overshadowing and loss of the urban fabric. Formal building height limits were not imposed until 1995 in central Sydney.

Meanwhile the Federal of Department of Transport had raised its own concerns over building heights, citing concerns over the proposed Skytower to be built by the Bond Corporation on the former Waltons Site at Town Hall. It claimed that towers over 305 metres in height can disrupt air traffic, especially in emergencies.

Three decades later, and the State Government has been working with Sydney City Council to relax building heights in central Sydney. I mentioned in 2016, that Sydney City Council was considering allowing towers of up to 310 metres tall to be built.

Crown Sydney (under construction) will rise to 271 metres, while a proposed office tower at Circular Quay would rise to 263 metres tall. A proposed 80 level apartment tower at 505 George Street (Event Cinemas site) would rise to approximately 270 metres tall.

Until Cove Apartments rose from the site in 2002-03, the site itself went no development until the end of the decade. Several highriae apartment schemes were proposed but failed.