Monday, 24 September 2018

SERIES: The Evolution of the Citigroup Centre - Plans unveiled for Waltons Site redevelopment (1982)

Apart from World Square, there is one other city site where redevelopment proved to be a very long saga.

2 Park Street is home to the Citigroup Centre a 48 level tower that rises over the former Waltons Department store site.

Today, the building and the site are very well ingrained on our city streetscape. One can walk past yet forget the drama faced just to get a building on this site.

Growing up in the 1990s, I was used to one sight - hoardings, which hid one of the biggest "holes in the ground" in the city.

But how did we end up with the building that we see today along with the Galeries Victoria?

The story begins in 1982. Alan Bond had purchased the Waltons Department Store Chain and Norman Ross.

The flagship store on Park Street at Town Hall comprised of seven buildings including the Town Hall Hotel. Bond wanted the store in simply one building.



Source: Robertson, R. 1982. "New department store will boost jobs: The City's first for 50 years". The Sydney Morning Herald, September 1: 2. 

Donald Crone was commissioned to design a new store to replace the previous store, but also provide a retail complex and office tower. Plans were unveiled in August 1982 for the site. Apart from a new Waltons Store, there would be 90 shops, restaurant, tavern and 28 storey office building to house the headquarters of Bond Waltons (Waltons and Norman Ross). The estimated cost was $100 million and would be completed by 1985.

A clearer copy of the Artists Impression as featured in The Sydney Morning Herald article (above) from September 1, 1982.
The tower was to be placed on the Southeastern corner of the site at the intersection of Park and Pitt Street.

Approval was granted in January 1983.



Source: Coultan, C. 1983. "Council gets $2m...Waltons gets shopping centre". The Sydney Morning Herald, January 28: 2. 

As time wore on, Alan Bond had bigger plans brewing. The proposed building heights increased to 35 and then 43 levels.

Next Week, we will look at his most ambitious proposal - Skytower.