Sydney Fish Market to get a $250 million makeover on new Blackwattle Bay site

The NSW government has unveiled plans for a significant redesign of Blackwattle Bay, shifting the Sydney Fish Market to a new home, displacing heavy industry and opening new tracts of inner-city homes and shops.

The $250 million transformation, announced on Sunday by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, would house the fish market in a new Danish-designed building next to its current spot, backing onto Wentworth Park on the south side of the bay.

Ms Berejiklian said she hoped new use of the current site would pay for its redevelopment, costing taxpayers nothing.

But the proposal comes after a $549 million cost blowout to the Sydney light-rail construction, while plans to combat extra congestion from the new homes and shops remain under development.

The shake-up would also force concrete contractors Hymix and Hanson to shift from the area, which has been criticised for high pollution levels in the past.

“The Sydney Fish Market is an iconic part of our city but there’s no doubt it needs a huge makeover,” Ms Berejiklian said. “I know, with a makeover, there will be even more tourists and even more locals enjoying this.”

Work on the site is set to begin in late 2018, with construction expected to be completed in two to three years. The new building will be designed by Danish designers 3XN Architects, which are behind Sydney’s Quay Quarter Tower.

Sydney Fish Market Pty Ltd general manager Bryan Skepper said the development would create “the world’s best fish market” and absorb expanding visitor numbers.

“At the moment we get 3 million visitors a year to the site and our modelling predicts that could go to 6 million,” he said.

Barry Mann, head of the projects portfolio at UrbanGrowth NSW said the brief was “to create a world-class food and dining destination on the inner harbour that will be dynamic, sustainable, and sympathetic to the local area”.

Standing on its current site since 1966, the Sydney Fish Market has been the subject of speculation for several years, with many investors reportedly interested in developing it.

The owners, Sydney Fish Market Pty Ltd, reported a $978,000 net profit after tax last financial year, down from $1.7 million the year before. The company spent several hundred thousand dollars in a legal dispute involving Robert Deans, a real estate developer who had had a rival vision for the market redevelopment.

pposition planning spokesman Michael Daley said while he was awaiting more detail, the government had a poor track record of bringing projects such as the light rail and WestConnex to fruition.

“The upfront planning has been a debacle,” he said, expressing concern about a lack of new affordable housing in the area.

“Most of the new houses will be snapped up by foreign and domestic investors,” Mr Daley said.

A spokesman for the Premier said social and affordable housing would be considered, while the government looked at “a range of options” to beat traffic congestion. The spokesman would not comment on compensation for the heavy industry displacement, declaring it commercial in confidence.

The City of Sydney sat on the selection panel choosing the tenderer for the new market and said it was satisfied with the process.

“The City is supportive of the Sydney Fish Market remaining in Blackwattle Bay and not being relocated to another area of Sydney,” a spokeswoman said.

UrbanGrowth NSW said it expected to have a draft design released to the public later in the year.

Construction Advisor is a management consulting firm providing specialist advice and people to the construction industry within the areas of Commercial, Safety, Human Resources, Projects, Business Strategy, Coaching and Workshops.

We’ve done a lot of work in the industry alongside Government Agencies, Tier 1 Construction Contractors and a number of Sub-Contractors, all of which face challenges – some the same, some different. An issue that consistently comes up is the lack of centralisation of construction information, advisors and resources i.e. having one place to go to find all things construction.

We are currently undertaking a project to create Australia’s first Online Construction Marketplace where we will provide just that.

We welcome all enquiries about how we can help your business in this time of unprecedented construction demand and project complexity.