Parramatta Evolving to Become Sydney’s Second CBD. Hint to Auckland Council on Manukau City Centre

Massive $2b urban renewal project to give Parramatta clout to get under way


Council also needs to pull finger with both the Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre Zone, and Manukau City Centre urban development


  • Proposed investment to Parramatta CBD through to 2019: A$2 billion or around $2,141,894,800.00 in our dollars
  • Proposed investment to Manukau City Centre through to 2025: $23 million (although there has been the $34m White Water Rafting Facility, the $10m Davis Avenue upgrade, and the $90m Manukau Line spur and station taking investment since 2010 to $134m)


  • City of Parramatta: 178,000
  • Old Manukau City Council area: 375,000
  • Population of Sydney: 4.39m
  • Population of Auckland: 1.5m
  • Population of Southern Auckland (Otahuhu, former Manukau City, Papakura District, and Franklin District areas): 570,000 estimate


  • Nominal conversion if Council and Central Government were to invest at the same level as New South Wales into Parramatta for Manukau City Centre: $652 million
  • Estimated actual investment needed if Council and Central Government were to invest into Manukau City Centre through to 2020: $125m (although that figure would be reduced to around $68m taking into account previous investments (apart from the station) already mentioned above)


References to Manukau and Parramatta:


Investment into Parramatta Should Send Warning Bells to Auckland Council


A $2.14 billion investment into Parramatta Central Business the often touted second Central Business District (or City Centre) by the New South Wales State Government should be sending alarm bells to Auckland Council. This is especially as Council meets behind closed doors today to discuss what position to take in Unitary Plan mediations on the Centre Zones for which Manukau City Centre is listed as a Metropolitan Centre Zone. In my Unitary Plan submission and as I will be taking into mediation and later the Unitary Plan Hearings the push for the Super Metropolitan Centre Zone. The SMC Zone being a compromise between the Unitary Plan’s City Centre Zone and Metropolitan Zone in which Manukau would ideally sit.

The context of the Super Metropolitan Centre Zone can be seen below (as an extract from my Unitary Plan submission):


What New South Wales has potentially planned for Parramatta


This from The Sydney Morning Herald:

The rise of Parramatta: ‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’

May 23, 2015. Melanie Kembrey and Matt WadeReprints & permissions
Artist's impression of Parramatta Square, which will be completed in 2019 in the best case scenario.
Artist’s impression of Parramatta Square, which will be completed in 2019 in the best case scenario.


As its colonial heritage testifies, Parramatta has been a big part of Sydney’s past. Now there’s growing recognition of how vital Parramatta will be to the city’s future.

A marker of Parramatta’s emerging economic clout came this week when a $2 billion proposal to rejuvenate its commercial hub took a major step forward. Plans for Parramatta Square were first mooted more than two decades ago but demolition work is now approved and there are hopes the project will be completed by 2019. The redevelopment has been billed as  “western Sydney’s Martin Place” and will be one of Australia’s biggest urban renewal projects. At least five civic, residential and commercial towers will rise around a large public domain adding 150,000 square metres of high-end commercial office space that will accommodate more than 18,000 workers, students and residents on any given day.

Parramatta Lord Mayor, Scott Lloyd, said the renewal project was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and the Premier, Mike Baird, praised the council for taking plans for Parramatta Square forward.

“The NSW Government has identified Parramatta as our second CBD … it will play a very significant role in providing employment and housing opportunities that are essential for Sydney’s global competitiveness,” he said.

Why is Parramatta so important?

There’s a lot riding on Parramatta’s transformation. The western Sydney economy has traditionally relied heavily on manufacturing, a sector weakened by global economic forces, and jobs growth in the region has lagged behind other parts of the city recently. The traditional commercial centres of western Sydney, especially Parramatta, need to adapt if they are to attract and keep the high quality knowledge industries where future jobs growth is likely to be strongest.

Baird, who is also the minister for western Sydney, says the future of the city and the state are tied to Parramatta.

“This is a great state, Parramatta is a great city, and the future of both are heavily connected,” he said on one of his many stops in western Sydney during this year’s state election campaign.

Tim Williams, chief executive of lobby group the Committee for Sydney predicts the city’s future will be determined in its west.

“Sydney’s structure is challenging. We’ve got this rather constrained CBD on the far east of our city but about two million people live west of Parramatta,” he says. “The next big step in Sydney’s transformation is to do Parramatta comprehensively and well … the city needs Parramatta to be an economic powerhouse, a second economic pole.”

While Sydney’s CBD remains the nation’s most valuable economic location, modelling by consultancy PwC shows Sydney’s economic centre of gravity –the point around which economic output is evenly balanced – is nine kilometres west of the central business district and drifting north-west. That drift underscores the growing importance of economic clusters inland from the CBD. PwC’s analysis of Sydney’s local areas showed the Parramatta-Rosehill area generated more than $7.6 billion in 2012-13 and was growing at a faster rate than both the CBD and North Sydney. It’s estimated that more than 20 per cent of Australia’s Top 500 companies now have a presence in Parramatta’s CBD.

PwC’s economics director, Rob Tyson, said the growing recognition of Parramatta’s importance – signified by urban developments such as Parramatta Square – could be a “tipping point” in realising the huge potential of western Sydney.

“All of our research and economic analysis in the past points to the fact that Parramatta is becoming increasingly important in the whole tapestry of Sydney’s economic network,” he said.

Baird has declared Parramatta the “infrastructure capital of the world” because of the investment planned in the region. He points to a $26 billion pipeline of spending on road and rail projects in western Sydney – almost one in every two dollars allocated for state transport infrastructure. That includes Australia’s biggest road project, WestConnex, and its biggest public transport project, the North-West Rail Link. The pipeline grew last year when the Abbott Government announced a new airport will be built at Badgerys Creek.

Baird argues the sheer volume of infrastructure spending in store for western Sydney has attracted the attention of the world’s leading infrastructure players and they see great opportunity in the region over the next decade.

The rest of the west

The push to strengthen Parramatta as Sydney’s second commercial hub has been a catalyst for economic change across western Sydney. David Borger, the Western Sydney director of the Sydney Business Chamber, says the rise of Parramatta has provided other regional cities with a road map for their own development. No longer content to wait for organic growth, a range of cities have followed in Parramatta’s footsteps and are actively embarking on major urban renewal projects and re-branding campaigns.


Source and full article:


For full interactive graphic (and source:)



Simply put we (Auckland) are competing against greater Sydney and yet Sydney and New South Wales are making large investments in its second City Centre. This is while to date Council again has dithered on its second City Centre that is Manukau. New South Wales looking at the above and the Sydney Plan (see: The Auckland Plan and The Sydney Plan) are looking at ways of diversifying Sydney’s economy to a large-scale. Auckland Council has not even left Wynyard Quarter yet on that front yet Auckland is growing the fastest in the south (as much as Sydney’s west is for Sydney).

The good news is that Manukau has both the Southern Initiative, and being one of two Transformational Projects in Auckland (the City Centre is the other Transformational Project). Problem? While the Manukau Transformational Project aspect has fallen off the RADAR pretty much entirely The Southern Initiative despite the hype by the Mayor is still not attracting serious credible attention and resource from the Council Governing Body. And while that attention and resource from the Governing Body is simply not there I do not expect Central Government to pay much attention either until Council gets a firm grip and reality.


Manukau City Centre Area
Manukau City Centre Area


The reality is that Manukau City Centre is the heart of Southern Auckland. The reality also is that the South housing 38% of Auckland’s population (so 570,000) and four of the five heavy industrial complexes is due to house another 50,000 homes (so 150,000 people) and 35,000 jobs by 2025. To further give a reality check to Council and Government is that by the end of the Auckland Plan (2042) the South is forecast to house 45% of two million people (so 900,000). That means about the South is on those conservatives estimates to take 35% of all Auckland growth.


That alone should be sending alarm bells to Council that while Manukau is one of the ten Spatial Priorities (Southern Auckland having five of the ten) the future planning from Council and Government is seriously lacking (still after five years when the Super City was formed). The further alarm bells should also be ringing given that the New South Wales State Government has become very proactive in not only developing The Sydney Plan but about to invest that $2.14b into Parramatta City Centre! That investment alone will further strengthen not only wider Sydney at home but its economic clout to the world. We compete against Sydney so you can join the dots on the risk of us being left behind further and what needs to be done to prevent it.


 Investing that $125m into Manukau City Centre over the next ten years


Manukau Mall Redevelopment Context MK1
Manukau Mall Redevelopment Context MK1



Now subtracting the current investment of the Manukau Interchange (including the Parklet), White Water Rafting Facility and the Davis Avenue upgrade we are left in the potential kitty of $68m over ten years towards a 21st Century Manukau. Using my previous material on developing a 21st Century Manukau I have a foundation ready to go on how we can plan such investment.


Now since then there have been changes mainly to Lot 59 where the Manukau Interchange is to go. This is owing to the Interchange undergoing a third set of redesigns by Auckland Transport.

So we come down to something like this in the interim:

Manukau Southern End 3.1 Money shot with blank lot 59
Manukau Southern End 3.1 Money shot with blank lot 59

In essence we are trying to leverage through Development Auckland (part of Auckland Council) to utilise Council land for commercial and residential developments such as my proposed Manukau Mall Town Centre. The white rectangle by MIT to the top left corner is the land set aside for more commercial and residential development on Council land next to the proposed Manukau Interchange. Now what you can also see above is the Botany Line Sky Train which I would hopefully start to be built post 2020 (so not part of the $125m investment at this time).

With Development Auckland utilising Council land for commercial and residential development any amenity provisions from such leveraged developments would be cost neutral (so not drawing on the $125m). This leaves the $66m investment pot for projects such as:

  • $4.5m South Auckland Transit Link (Manukau South Link) construction:
  • $20m for upgrade of Hayman Park
  • Streetscape upgrades to Putney Way, Osterly Way, and eastern end of Ronwood Avenue
  • Enabling works on turn Ronwood Avenue into a boulevard similar to Davis Avenue
  • Pedestrian improvements and separated cycleways on Manukau Station Road, Great South Road, Lambie Drive (from Wiri Station Road to Cavendish Drive)  and Redoubt Road connecting the Redoubt Road upgrades on the otherside of the Southern Motorway to the Great South/Manukau Station Road intersection
  • Master Planning preparations
  • Bus lanes on Manukau Station and Great South Roads




Now $125m is most likely not to go particular far but it sets the foundational investment down into developing Manukau City Centre into Auckland’s second City Centre and help it compete against Sydney and Parramatta.


Place making planning is important to get right. This is my own place making alternative ideas for the Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre
Place making planning is important to get right. This is my own place making alternative ideas for the Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre



So come on Auckland Council; Sydney, Parramatta and New South Wales are investing serious capital into Parramatta City Centre. If we want to compete especially as the South is the fastest growing area of Auckland you (Council and Government) need to stop dithering and show some absolute commitment. Allowing Manukau City Centre to be rezoned as a Super Metropolitan Centre (up from a Metropolitan Centre) followed by some serious attention and capital would be a very good start.


The South and even The City is waiting…


%d bloggers like this: