Once a backwater, Penrith is reinventing itself as a major commercial hub

The decidedly inconvenient city of Penrith, traditionally seen as a backwater in Sydney 50 kilometers west of the business district, has now set itself the goal of becoming an important trading hub.

As the closest metropolitan area to the new airport and with a number of multimillion dollar projects in the pipeline, the company is now planning to move companies from Parramatta in central Sydney and those looking to relocate to the new Aerotropolis.

“We hope to attract larger companies that want to have a presence in, for example, Macquarie Street and Parramatta in the western parkland,” said Warwick Winn, general manager of Penrith City Council.

“We have the train line, so we’re only 40 minutes from town, and half of our population currently commutes to work and wants to work closer to where they live to save travel time and increase productivity.

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“You can buy a house here for the price of a mailbox in Sydney and our CBD offering will be more bespoke, a bit boutique. We set good standards for our new class A office space and don’t build on every square meter of space that has been created elsewhere. “

The Regatta Park is getting a $ 24 million upgrade.

The area on the Nepean River that is now Penrith was explored by European settlers just 18 months after the First Fleet arrived. Today it is still a relatively small town with around 220,000 inhabitants.

But the construction of Sydney’s first 24/7 airport is likely to change all of that, especially with the proposed subway line connecting Western Sydney International Airport to St Marys on Penrith’s doorstep.

The council has also launched a major improvement program to revitalize its city center.

City_Park_2_scwe2bThe revitalized city will have plenty of green space, including this $ 12 million urban park.

The former council chambers are about to be converted into 8,000 square meters of new class A office space; a further 6,000 square meters will be provided by the new Soper Place development. A $ 12 million city park is being built nearby and the riverside regatta park is being upgraded by $ 24 million.

Real estate development, investment and services company Avenor, which has advised and supported major urban renewal projects across Australia, including Atlassian’s new tech center district at Central Station, is now working closely with the local council.

Peter Clemesha, Avenor’s Executive Director, believes the airport will play a critical role for Penrith.

“It’s definitely a backlog now, but the vision is for Penrith to be a great CBD metropolis that can compete anywhere in a major CBD airport location,” he said. “The size of an airport outside of downtown CBD has grown organically, like Singapore, Denver and Heathrow – and that’s a real opportunity for Penrith.

“The city has many natural attributes, is so close to the Blue Mountains and with the Penrith Lakes, has affordable housing, land, a Westfield, railroad lines, education and health facilities and the government has invested a lot of money in infrastructure in western Sydney. Nowhere else in Australia is there an opportunity to grow like this. “

131_Henry_St_Penrith_Council_d45omzThe former council chambers of Penrith are being redesigned by this design by the architectural firm Woods Bagot.

The first new Class A workspace in the grounds of the old 1950s headquarters at 131 Henry Street will be an eye-catching structure designed by architects Woods Bagot, winner of an outstanding design competition. With a minimum rating of five stars for the Green Star for cooling the city, flexible office, green, retail and public spaces will be provided and 430 jobs will be created after completion.

“We’re seeing a lot of development going on in Sydney’s west to create a sense of place, convenience and culture,” said Jason Fraser, director of Woods Bagot.

“With this building, we didn’t want it to look like a traditional commercial building, but we wanted it to be of public and communal use at its core and we hope it could serve as a model for future development. ”

Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said the design would add to the future urban character of the Penrith CBD.

131_Henry_St_Penrith_2_h4uncqThe former council chambers at 131 Henry Street will have created 430 jobs when completed.

“[It] will set the benchmark for future urban development and be the catalyst for the revitalization of the Penrith CBD, along with the council’s investment in a new city park and redesign of Soper Place, ”she said. “Penrith is well positioned to become a new commercial hub for growth and innovation.”

Soper Place, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2023, will be a new development of a four-story A-class commercial building and parking garage with a public roof garden, a living green facade and a multi-sports field.

The upgrade of the riverside regatta park includes new playgrounds, coastal paths, observation decks over water, a kiosk, junior cricket oval, parking lot and green spaces. The council is investing $ 9 million, with NSW and federal government contributing $ 7.5 million each.

At the same time, construction of the 7,000 square meter new city park on the site of a current Hotch-Potch range of old retail and office buildings on the corner of Henry and Station will begin in 2022. It will have themed gardens, water features, shaded areas and open spaces.

“That’s the jewel in the crown,” said Mr. Winn. “It will be a common space and part of what we are trying to do to cool the city down, while we will also see small bars, restaurants and cafes to add more atmosphere to the city.

“There is no doubt that the airport is a real catalyst for growth in the city, but the city council has aspirations and has long been implementing them to promote growth and sustainable development.”

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