I was deeply disappointed to hear the Baird Government’s announcement that Australian Technology Park (ATP) in Redfern will be sold off to Mirvac. This sale of public assets will include the historic Eveleigh Railyards. The site is both an important piece of Sydney’s heritage and a vital hub for local digital industry.
The sale, that was announced last week, will involve the re-development of some parts of the site. Mirvac will pay the NSW Government $263 million for the opportunity to develop new office space worth $1 billion. Current tenants hold concerns that the privatisation of the site will mean it will lose its specialist tech focus. Early signs show that ATP is at risk of becoming just another business park with the announcement that the Commonwealth Bank will close three offices in Western Sydney to become an ‘anchor’ tenant. I fear the opportunity for ATP to expand as a world class, innovative technology hub has been missed.
While there are some protections in place for the site, including a ban on residential development and the preservation of public access, I remain concerned that the heritage value of the Eveleigh Railyard will be lost amongst an overdeveloped commercial precinct. Unfortunately once the property is sold we will no longer be able to ensure that community needs prevail over commercial ones.