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Circular Quay soon to put on a new face

22 Jun

Carolyn Cummins SMH, May 16, 2011

The city-wall as seen from the Cahill Expressway. This is a cool spot and an urban vista rarely appreciated.

THE state government has approved the redevelopment of Goldfields House, one of the oldest office blocks on Circular Quay.

02- Goldfields House 1966 Peddle Thorp and Walker

The wonderfully ’60s forecourt to Goldfield’s House- presumably doomed…

Also on Circular Quay, AMP Capital Investors recently appointed Mirvac to redevelop the office tower formerly occupied by Coca-Cola Amatil. The 15-storey building was completed in 1966 for Coca-Cola, but the drink manufacturer has moved to Investa Property’s Ark building at 40 Mount Street, North Sydney.

03- Coca-Cola Amatil Building 1966- seen here nestled between Mirvac’s Quay Grand and the Cahill Expressway. The limestone panels on the Coke building were recently renovated.

Mirvac owns the Quay Grand Hotel at Circular Quay.

Valad, which is the subject of a takeover offer by the US property group Blackstone, said in its March quarter update on Thursday that the Sydney Local Environment Plan 2005 (Amendment No. 2), which was previously approved by the Sydney City Council, has been gazetted by the government.

04- Quay Grand Hotel at Circular Quay

”This enables Valad to pursue development approval for the redevelopment of Goldfields House,” Valad’s acting chief executive, Clem Salwin, said last week.

Valad originally lodged plans to include a 191-metre tall apartment block and adjoining retail and office complex. The nearby Australia Square is 170 metres.

But after wrangling with City of Sydney Council, the development approval was halted.

Despite the takeover attempt by Blackstone, internal management changes and large debt levels, Valad has been targeting Asian investors over the past year in its marketing of the apartments, which will have harbour views.

Property agents say the value of apartments in and around Circular Quay is upwards of $34,000 a square metre. Apartments overlooking the Opera House have sold for as much as $10 million.

Goldfields House is one of the oldest buildings on the Quay.


Penthouse crowd taking over office space

Carolyn Cummins and Jonathan Chancellor SMH April 18, 2008

THE cream of Sydney’s office towers are under threat from developers wanting to turn harbourside skyscrapers into luxury residential abodes.

The latest, Goldfields House at Circular Quay, is set to be replaced by a $1 billion, 33-storey apartment tower. Construction on the historic harbour gateway site is scheduled for 2011 at the earliest.

Its joint developer Valad, which purchased the 30-storey office tower in 2006 for $274 million, has interim approval from the Central Sydney Planning Committee. The company now intends to hold an international architectural competition.

Several buildings, including the Scullers Arms hotel, were demolished to make way for Goldfields House, which was designed by Peddle Thorp and Walker and completed in 1966.

The proposal has provisional approval from the NSW Heritage Council, given the works are within metres of the Tank Stream.

Its views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge should ensure high prices for its proposed 124 apartments – the smallest of which, at 135 square metres, would cost at least $4 million based on current prices.

Recent sales of harbourside units have averaged $3 million, but Sydney’s record apartment price stands at $16.8 million for the 260-square-metre penthouse in the nearby Bennelong building that was sold this year. The block was built after several Macquarie Street office blocks were demolished, including the 1958 Unilever House, the building closest to the Opera House.

05- Unilever House (1958) seen here in the late sixties. Bird’s-eye view of wharves and office buildings with the Sydney Opera House and Government House in the background, Jack Hickson, 1968.

The conversion of Circular Quay could gather pace when Coca-Cola Amatil quits its longstanding headquarters in 2010 and heads to North Sydney.

The Quay apartment block on Phillip Street was the first harbourfront residential venture following the slump in the city office market in the early 1980s.

06- Quay apartment block, Phillip Street 1982

But its developer, Trustees Executors, went into liquidation during the 1983 credit squeeze and John Lewis’s Concrete Constructions took over the project.

There are now 95 residential blocks throughout the city, up from 28 in 1994. The Astor on Macquarie Street was Sydney’s most prestigious high-rise block when it was completed in 1923.

07- Astor, Macquarie Street 1923



Manly Ferry and Unilever Building, David Moore, 1958.


Mirvac upbeat as sales hit target
Carolyn Cummins SMH, May 18, 2011

Sales success … 94 per cent of the apartments in the ERA Chatswood development have already been sold.

MIRVAC is confident it can weather any housing downturn after sales at the new Chatswood ERA development broke all records for a weekend campaign.

Although the group warns the residential sector will be hit by any rise in interest rates, it has reaffirmed its 2010-11 year net profit guidance and earnings of 10.4¢-10.6¢ per stapled security.

At the property group’s March quarter update yesterday, the managing director, Nick Collishaw, told investors Mirvac remained on track to deliver strong earnings growth of ”between 12 to 14 per cent”.

Read more:


01- ERA Chatswood- A computer-generated image of an apartment at Mirvac’s ERA, Chatswood, Sydney


Glorious psychedelic cacophony for starters

16 Jun

AS an array of colours and shapes bounced off the roof of the Sydney Opera House after the opening of Vivid Sydney on Friday night, inside at the Opera Theatre English space rock ensemble Spiritualized was employing its own kind of light show to colour its creations.

Spiritualized was there to perform its third and most critically acclaimed album, Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space, a landmark in post Britpop psychedelia released in 1997. It’s an album that is by turn delicate, mournful, hypnotic and, in terms of creating a really intense racket, quite beautiful.

Main man Jason Pierce prefers the enigmatic approach to stage performance.

He sat down for the entire show, off to one side with his music stand, a microphone and an electric guitar.

For this gig he had plenty of collaborators to help him recreate his best work, including an eight-piece choir (in appropriate smocks), a similarly sized string section and six horn players, most of whom were recruited in Sydney.

That was in addition to the rock nucleus of bass, drums, two guitarists, a percussionist and a keyboards player. You felt it might be loud. And so it was.

Initially, as they launched into the title song as an opener, it was hard to tell if the guitar feedback was a technical fault or part of the set, but as the show progressed it became clear that every dynamic shift and nuance, even the severest barrage of white noise, was deliberate.

Pierce’s songs often have a dirge-like repetitiveness, either in the sense of stripped-back melancholy or in the way the instrumentation builds slowly around one theme until it becomes a ball of static directed straight at your eardrums.

These attacks were the best parts of this performance, even if the decibel level did have some unsuspecting festivalgoers stuffing bits of paper into their ears by the end of the fifth song, Stay with Me.

The highlight was the closing, 17-minute psychedelic groove of Cop Shoot Cop. This glorious cacophony featured the entire ensemble. The combination of heavy percussive rumble with strings, horns and guitars going full tilt and the strobe lighting used to illuminate it made it as thrillingly intense as a fairground ride you never want to get off.

Quieter moments such as the gospel-tinged Come Together and Broken Heart allowed the subtleties being played by the strings and horns to push through. Elsewhere they were contributing to the whole without being distinct.

With the album done, they came back on for Out of Sight, a standout from Spiritualized’s first album Let it Come Down.

Its more restrained, poppy groove was a comedown, but pleasantly so after the onslaught before it. You’d want an act to open your festival that lived up to the title Vivid Live. Spiritualized did that with ease.


400,000 attend the biggest ever Vivid Sydney


NSW Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, has declared Vivid Sydney 2011 a record success, with sell-out music concerts, huge crowds experiencing over 40 light installations and packed creative ideas sessions.

Vivid Sydney cemented its popularity, as over 400,000 attendees from Sydney, Australia and the rest of the world experienced events around Circular Quay from the Sydney Opera House to The Rocks. From jets of flame shooting out of Campbells Cove at FireDance to world exclusive concert performances by artists, including The Cure at Sydney Opera House and events for creative industry professionals, the festival offered something for everyone. Vivid Sydney catered for families, young people, seniors, creatives, tourists and everyone in between.

Vivid Sydney is a ground breaking event model. The spectacular festival not only provided entertainment for the public and attracted visitors, but also proved to be an excellent platform for creative industry events. There is no doubt the international spotlight was shining on Sydney over the past 18 nights, that showcased our creative industries credentials to the world.

Vivid Sydney executive producer, Ignatius Jones, said the success of the 2011 festival was a credit to the passion and talent of the creative teams involved in the event. Reminiscing the dazzling display of sound and lights Jones added, “it’s been a fantastic journey this year and an absolute pleasure to work with Events NSW who have a strong vision to create a festival that puts Sydney on the map globally as the creative hub of the Asia Pacific. Events NSW estimate Vivid Sydney will generate up to $10 million in economic benefit for the State.

“We knew this year’s festival would be popular, but we were blown away at seeing such huge crowds down at the festival, night after night enjoying colourful jellyfish swimming across the Sydney Opera House sails, painting digital light graffiti on the Museum of Contemporary Art and watching the awe inspiring 3D projections on Customs House” said Jones.

Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House and the Vivid Sydney music program, featured over 30 ticketed events, including a number of Sydney and world exclusive performances from artists such as The Cure, Bat for Lashes, Cut Copy and Spiritualized. Over 35,000 tickets were sold, in addition to 4,500 tickets to interstate and overseas visitors, which generated a $2.34 million gross box office. This makes it the most successful Vivid LIVE yet for Sydney Opera House. As an astonishing achievement, around 59 per cent of the tickets were sold to a new audience.


Sydney Opera House safety risks denied

6 Jun

Matthew Westwood, The Australian June 01, 2010

STAGE machinery at the Sydney Opera House may be cranking into its 37th year of operation but the NSW government denies it is a safety risk.
An engineering report by theatre consultants Marshall Day Entertech warned of “multiple fatalities” in the event of a serious malfunction.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported the Opera House would be forced to close unless repairs worth $800 million were done.

But the NSW government yesterday played down the risks and the cost of work.

Carol Mills, director-general of Communities NSW — a super-department that includes Arts NSW and the Sydney Opera House — said the Marshall Day report was part of a needs-and-costs assessment of arts organisations. It did not calculate the risk of accident but looked at potential problems.

While the stage machinery was “nearing the end of its life”, Ms Mills said, Opera House employees had “never been safer”.

Sydney Opera House management said the cost of repairs was overstated. The figure of $800m referred to a total refurbishment of the Opera Theatre: a grand scheme that would rebuild the theatre according to architect Joern Utzon’s design.

However, the stage machinery upgrade could be done separately, at a cost of about $50m.

Opera House chief executive Richard Evans said there was no threat of closure to any of the famous venue’s theatres.

“Sydney Opera House has a $30m annual plant and equipment maintenance program, widely acknowledged as one of the best in the world,” Mr Evans said.

Upgrades to the Opera Theatre have been discussed for years, and malfunctions have occurred. A performance of Handel’s opera Rinaldo in 2005 was interrupted by technical problems.

“Some time in the next five years, we will have to close for a period for repairs,” said Opera Australia chief executive Adrian Collette.



$130m to save Sydney Opera House from closure
By Andrew Clennell From: The Daily Telegraph June 02, 2010

An engineering report showed there were risks of “multiple fatalities” because of ageing stage machinery in the Opera House.

•NSW Government to stump up $130m
•Money is enough to “fix the problem”
•Opera House is lobbying for $800m

COMING soon to Sydney Opera House, the 13 million tenners – a $130 million rescue package.
After 10 years of lobbying, the NSW Government will announce the funding in next week’s state budget.

Treasurer Eric Roozendaal will provide the money for the Opera House in what senior government sources said was enough to “fix the problem” which has threatened the Opera House with closure.

The rescue package comes after revelations this week that an internal engineering report that showed there were risks of “multiple fatalities” because of ageing stage machinery.

Senior government sources have confirmed that more than $130 million will be allocated in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial years.

It will be far less than the $800 million the Opera House is asking from the state and federal governments over seven years for a renewal project to fix the premises but will pay for the cost of replacing stage machinery and enable it to remain open.

The Opera House report from engineering firm Marshall Day Entertech warned: “There is a real risk to persons on stage or being carried on the flying system from a malfunction or fault with this installation and a similar, although lesser, potential risk when people are carried on the transport elevator.”

The report warned there was a risk of “multiple fatalities” and said the theatre’s flying system was “non-compliant with current international codes and practice”.

The funding comes at a time when Treasurer Eric Roozendaal is being called a “scrooge” for not spending enough on other new projects in the upcoming budget.

A Government source said “stamp duty receipts were through the roof” but Mr Roozendaal was reluctant to open up money to new projects.

Sources said cuts were expected instead in the departments of education and environment and climate change to meet surplus targets in future years.

The Sydney Opera House is likely to warmly welcome the Government’s rescue package as it has been lobbying state and federal governments since 2000.


Facelift imminent for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art- the Mordant Wing

4 May

Editor- a bit of a shocker- Mondrian box 10 years after it was fashionable elsewhere. However, it’s great that the MCA will finally get some decent space. I hope that includes a re-organisation of the dismal circulation spaces within the current MCA.

Facelift imminent for Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art- the Mordant Wing
Centralmag 04 May 10

The redevelopment of the Museum of Contemporary Art will begin in June this year.

The announcement was made by The Premier of NSW Kristina Keneally, the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP, and MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor at the Museum this morning.

The redevelopment, that is expected to be completed in early 2012, will deliver a world class art and education institution and will strengthen the MCA’s position as a locally loved and internationally respected Museum.

MCA – 2009 Building Fly Through from MCA Sydney Australia on Vimeo.

The extension to the north of the existing MCA building will be appropriately named the Mordant Wing in recognition of the philanthropic support of the Mordant family.

The Mordant Wing will provide a Centre for Creative Learning of national significance, housing workshop spaces for schools and after-school youth programs.

There will be new facilities for the Museum’s renowned Bella program for young people with special needs, a digital classroom, multi-media room, library and resource room and a lecture theatre/new media events space.

In addition, the extension will house additional Gallery space.

The development will also provide revamped and extended gallery spaces and a new fully accessible entrance.

It will also expand commercial spaces to provide more ongoing revenue and create a sustainable business model, which will assist the MCA in continuing to offer free entry



Art of giving: $15m single donation boosts MCA plan

A “breathtaking” $15 million donation from a single Sydney family will partially fund a $53 million redevelopment of the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay.

The unprecedented commitment will come from Simon Mordant, MCA Foundation head and joint chief executive of investment bank Greenhill Caliburn Partners, and Mordant’s wife, Catriona.

Mordant recently pocketed $65 million through the sale of Caliburn to US firm Greenhil & Co, the Australian Financial Review reported last month.

The Mordants’ gift will be met by a joint $26 million commitment from the federal and NSW governments, as well as a $1 million donation from the City of Sydney and $7.45 million from other private donors, according to a statement on the MCA’s website.

The new wing, to be named the Mordant Wing, will extend the size of the MCA by roughly two thirds.

Museum director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor said it would house a new National Centre for Creative Learning, more gallery space and extra commercial space to generate revenue.

“The importance of this contribution to our community, made possible by the enthusiasm and commitment of this unique funding partnership, is truly breathtaking,” Ms Macgregor said.

The construction project, designed by Sam Marshall in partnership with the NSW Government Architect, will start in June and is expected to be completed in early 2012.



MCA unveils $50m makeover plan
Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Wed Dec 10, 2008, ABC

Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is planning a $50 million overhaul that would double its size with a modern new wing opposite the Opera House.

The wing, to be built on top of a car park at Circular Quay, will look like a pile of white, brown, grey and tinted glass boxes connected to the existing art deco building.

But the MCA still needs $22 million for the plan and has been lobbying the Federal Government to plug the shortfall.

The new building, designed by award-winning Sydney architect Sam Marshall, will contain a new arcade-like entrance linking Circular Quay with George Street at The Rocks.

It will also house a National Centre for Creative Learning and two new galleries containing more of the MCA’s permanent collection.

Mr Marshall says he plucked the colours of the blocks from the MCA’s surrounds and from local Indigenous culture.

MCA director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor says local residents and businesses have supported the project, but she expects it to spark debate.

“I think we should debate or discuss architecture of all kinds,” she said. “We really look forward to the debate and it will be interesting, as we move forward, to get people’s reactions.”

Ms Macgregor also wants to renovate the MCA’s current home, which was built for the Maritime Service Board. She says many people do not realise it houses contemporary art.

“Many times, we’ve had visitors walk right past, not realising the amazing experiences they’re missing out on inside,” she said.

“The building is hardly welcoming. The access is totally inadequate for people using wheelchairs, never mind families with children in strollers.

“The circulation is confusing. Is the main entrance the Quay side or George Street? Can you find the George Street entrance among the retail?

“How do you find the lifts? Do you go up or down to get to the galleries? The mezzanine can only be reached by the goods lift or the stairs.”

The museum is also planning to redevelop the rooftop overlooking the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, with a new cafe and and a sculpture terrace displaying annually commissioned works.

Cash plea

The New South Wales Government has injected $10 million into the plan, while the City of Sydney Council has pledged $1 million and the private sector has donated $17 million.

Ms Macgregor says federal Arts Minister Peter Garrett has been receptive in discussions about funding.

She says the financial crisis should not stop the Federal Government and philanthropists from contributing money.

“Who knows, with the downturn?” she said.

“[It’s] a development that can not only generate jobs during its construction but is clearly going to drive traffic to The Rocks, hopefully get people spending money and of course, it will make waves internationally too.

“So we would like to make a very strong economic argument for support for this development.”

Ms Macgregor hopes the project will re-invigorate the museum and surrounding area at The Rocks.

“At the moment, in the existing building, we’re in a bit of a logjam, where income is static and costs are rising.

“That’s going to squeeze us to the point where it’s going to be very difficult to continue the ambition of our current exhibition programs.

“So we need to do something that generates more excitement, attracts more people, attracts more donors, attracts more sponsors and generates income.”

A spokesman for Mr Garrett says the Government is considering the plea for cash as part of its Budget process.

The museum hopes to complete the redevelopment by the March 2011 state election, but it says work will not begin until it has received $50 million.


Link- MCA page-

who knew? Sydney then & now 2

15 Feb
Site- Scots Presbyterian Church (Portico York Street) in York St /cnr Jamison st, Sydney looking south-1930 Assembly Church (70m long x 30m high). 2005- stone Facade & chapel saved and intergrated into new 17storey/70m residential bldg-Portico Continue reading

who knew? Sydney then & now 1

13 Feb
Site- Queen Victoria Building  powerhouse collection.
photo- Culwulla Continue reading

Six months ago- Sydney Dust Storm

2 Feb

18:00 AEST Wed Sep 23 2009
By ninemsn staff

Strong winds blowing in from the north-west blanketed much Australia’s east coast in dust today.

Sydneysiders awoke to discover the sky was turned a hellish red in the extremely rare weather event. Continue reading