NSW Government’s Central Station billion-dollar overhaul

centralDocuments seen by the ABC and Fairfax reveal taxpayers will be slugged almost $3 billion to complete a planned revamp of Central Station in Sydney.

Neighbouring commercial properties around Henry Deane Plaza and the Goods Line will be acquired as part of the ambitious 20-year building scheme by the NSW Government, including a heritage-listed post office building and a YHA hostel.

Some construction is already underway and will span three decades, with major disruptions to passengers at Australia’s busiest train station expected until 2035.

Upgrades at the main terminus, which dates to 1906, will cost $2 billion and include new platforms, shops, restaurants and a 180-room luxury hotel on the top floor.

The hotel plan requires the relocation of an existing light-rail stop to Pitt Street, creating a turning bay for limousines and taxis outside a new hotel foyer.

Over $1 billion is allocated to “commercial” and “aspirational” development projects near the station, transforming a low-rise skyline largely unchanged in over 100 years.

Artists’ impressions reveal towering high-rises, some in the airspace over existing railway sidings.

Three commercial towers, at a cost of $300 million, will be built on Lee Street while railway sidings near Prince Alfred Park are earmarked for another $300 million project to build shops and low-rise residential apartments.

Developing the space will require the relocation of a large electrical substation at a cost of almost $40 million.

Henry Deane plaza, a nearby shopping precinct, is also in line for a $100 million overhaul. Central’s busy platforms, and congested walkways, such as the Devonshire Street Tunnel, are expected to soon be unable to cope with pedestrian flows.

The documents recommend that Transport for NSW move urgently on upgrades to improve passenger amenity around Central, or risk delays to the opening of the Metro Project in 2024.