Walsh Bay Renewal Project
What is it: A world-class hub for performing arts When will it open? 2019, but opposition from local businesses may delay the project
Imagine watching a performance by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and having the view of the Harbour Bridge behind the musicians. That dream could become a reality when the $207 million renewal gets the green light (for a second time). In April this year, the project to redevelop the arts and cultural centres at Walsh Bay – specifically Pier 2/3 and Wharf 4/5 – was awarded an additional $68 million in funding. However, by June the project suffered a major setback with opposition from a local restaurant (who feared the two-year construction period would slow trade). As it stands, Sydney Theatre Company and the Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf will close for business midway through 2018 in order to overhaul the performance and hospitality spaces on Wharf 4/5. Over at Pier 2/3, the plan is to build balconies, raise the roof and glaze the sliding cargo doors. This wharf will become the new home of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bell Shakespeare and Australian Theatre for Young People. And there’s a plan to link the decks between the two wharves to create a social area for the anticipated two million visitors to Walsh Bay each year. The proposed refurb is STC’s first significant upgrade in 30 years, which will include two new accessible public entries and modernised theatres with flexible seating configurations. For Bangarra Dance Theatre, the update means new glazed doors and an improved entrance. For Sydney Dance Company, they’ll get a better café and new dance studio.