Western Sydney to Emerge as a New Global “Cityport”

The development of Badgerys Creek Airport will establish Western Sydney as a new global “cityport” and a key economic hub.

This was one of the messages delivered at a CBRE Parramatta Market Outlook Forum, with guest speakers Professor Edward Blakely – District Commissioner of Greater Western Sydney – and Barry Mann, Director of Property & Significant Assets for Parramatta City Council.

Professor Blakely said a significant focus for the region was the successful roll-out of the infrastructure to support Badgerys Creek Airport, which would be the size of Adelaide Airport when it opened and as big as Kingsford Smith Airport within 20 years.

“This is going to establish Badgerys Creek as a global cityport, not just an airport,” Professor Blakely said, adding that development of appropriate transport infrastructure over the next 10 to 15 years was critical to support not just Badgerys Creek but the broader Western Sydney region.

His mantra is that “transport leads with speed” and it will be vital to have a travel time of 20 minutes from Parramatta to Badgerys Creek and for speeder connections to be created between Parramatta and its “sister city” – the Sydney CBD.

“When transport works, business works as it gives you the advantages of the entire metropolitan area,” Professor Blakely said.

He also noted that it was important to have a focus on planning entire precincts in Western Sydney.

“We want to move away from planning buildings and start planning precincts.”

One of those precincts is Parramatta Square, with Barry Mann of Parramatta City Council highlighting that a strong focus was to attract large scale tenants of 20,000sqm+.

Mr Mann said there were a number of major tenant enquiries in the market to support this city changing project, which is due to be open to the public in late 2019, with the final two buildings to be completed in 2021.

CBRE Director, Advisory & Transaction Services Stephen Panagiotopoulos, noted that the Parramatta leasing market had been going from strength to strength, with significant rental growth in the past 12 months in tandem with a tightening in incentives.

He added that State and Federal Government tenants were leading the charge in relation to seeking out new lease opportunities.

“They are taking charge, they are taking the lead, and I think that will continue,” Mr Panagiotopoulos said.

In relation to current opportunities, CBRE Advisory & Transaction Services Director Ben Lalic said there be potentially only three existing buildings in Parramatta with vacancies of 1,000sqm or more by Q3 2016, which was helping to drive rental growth.

His expectation is that the city’s vacancy rate will reduce from 5.4% currently to just 3% by early to mid next year and possibly to as low as 2% by 2018.

Another market driver has been the slew of residential conversions throughout metropolitan Sydney, with CBRE research indicating that a combined 302,900sqm of office stock would be withdraw from Epping, Burwood, Hurstville, North Sydney, St Leonards, Macquarie Park and Parramatta over the next four years.

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