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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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A second proposal to redevelop the IMAX site as part of Darling Harbour’s revitalisation has been recommended for approval by the Department of Planning and Environment, with conditions responding directly to issues raised during consultation.


The independent Planning Assessment Commission will make the final decision on Grocon Pty Ltd’s second application which proposes to construct a new 25-storey hotel and serviced apartment complex with updated IMAX theatre and some retail to replace the existing cinema.


Key issues raised during consultation include use of public land, building design, traffic, access and safety.




These issues have been addressed in the Department’s assessment by recommending strict conditions in response, including:

  • a legal restriction prohibiting permanent residential use of the building, consistent with City of Sydney Council’s standard practice which would also be placed on serviced apartments if individually sold in the future
  • certification for the building façade glazing to achieve high-levels of noise protection and glare reduction for pedestrians and motorists on the Western Distributor
  • a requirement for the building to achieve a five star Green Star rating certification from Green Building Council of Australia within two years of the final occupation certificate
  • a management and operational plan for the car stacker, loading dock, valet service and porte de cochere will be prepared in consultation with government agencies before a construction certificate can be issued
  • a Road Safety Audit and Traffic Impact Assessment be prepared in consultation with government agencies before a construction certificate can be issued
  • a requirement to provide minimum footpath width on the building’s western side improving safety and accessibility for pedestrians.


A three storey car stacker would provide 170 car parking spaces for the hotel and apartments, with 295 bicycle spaces also included.


Public space upgrades are also part of the plans including a new playground, a public display screen on the western façade of the building to televise information or events such as sporting matches, and an updated Harbour Street pedestrian walkway.


The Department carefully considered issues of building design and considers the new application to be largely consistent with the previous approval and is of a high architectural quality.


“Consultation with the community is enshrined into the process for assessing applications like these,” a spokesperson from the Department said.


“The Planning Assessment Commission is an important part of the NSW planning system ensuring major developments are subject to expert, independent review and assessment.


“The Commission will now consider the Department’s report and recommended conditions as well as community submissions to make a final decision.”


The Department publicly exhibited the second application between January and February 2016.




There were four public submissions received objecting to the proposal and ten submissions from government agencies.


Grocon’s initial application to demolish the existing IMAX theatre included office building plans for city workers.


This original consent remains while the applicant seeks approval for a second application.


Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act an applicant may hold more than one development consent for the same site.


For more information please visit the Major Projects website.

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