Atlassian anchor multi-billion-dollar tech precinct

Atlassian anchor multi-billion-dollar tech precinct

25 October 2019

Homegrown software giant Atlassian is poised to shift its headquarters to a site next to Sydney’s Central Station, with the company co-founded by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar anchoring a multi-billion-dollar technology district.

More than a year after premier Gladys Berejiklian first flagged plans to transform the southern end of the CBD into a tech and innovation hub, the NSW government has released the first images of its vision for the 24-hectare Central Precinct.

The proposal sets out the urban renewal of the precinct into a transport-centered commercial district, improving public connections to bordering suburbs Chippendale, Surry Hills, Ultimo and Redfern and providing green walkways to Belmore and Prince Alfred parks.

The southern central Sydney location “provides a natural extension to the city’s development”, the draft strategy reads, connecting the city at its boundaries and creating a centre for the “jobs of the future”.

“The opportunity is comparable [to] large urban renewal programs including Kings Cross, Euston and Olympic Park in London and Hudson Yards in New York.”

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar confirmed that the company is working with state agencies and local government on the precinct.

“We want to help create the jobs of the future and contribute to the 25,000-plus additional innovation jobs that the precinct is expected to deliver.

“That is what the tech precinct is all about. It will breathe new life into the Central Station area, while also preserving its history and heritage.”

The Nasdaq-listed company is working on a preliminary scheme for a 35-storey, circa $800 million tower which will include a mixed-use hotel, retail and innovation space on the site of the Railway Square YHA backpackers.

Atlassian first announced an in-principle agreement with the NSW government in February, with plans for the precinct to become a “technology ecosystem”.

“This precinct will be a home to future generations of Australians who might otherwise take their great ideas overseas,” Farquhar said.

The government has broken down the 24-hectare Central Precinct plans into a series of sub-precincts, including the western gateway sub-precinct which the government says has the potential to kick off the development of the larger precinct.

The move aims to create thousands of jobs in growth industries that the government hopes will flock to the area. Nearby universities and institutes have also committed to the technology park.

The NSW government has released a draft vision for the 24ha Central Precinct and rezoning plans for the Western Gateway anchored by Atlassian, with another two buildings by developers Dexus and Frasers.

Lord mayor Clover Moore welcomed the Central Precinct plans as a “forward-thinking development of what is a really under-utilised part of our city”.

“For years, debate has raged over what we should do with the land above and around the Central Station rail yards,” Moore said.

“Now NSW planning and Atlassian have a plan I’m excited about—a high tech precinct above the rail yards, connecting the surrounding suburbs with new walking connections.”

The tower will have 49,300sq m of office space, with 28,300sq m to be occupied by Atlassian in 2024. The remaining 21,000sq m of office space will be used as an incubator for technology and innovation, sublet to start-ups and small businesses.

The Atlassian co-founders have long argued that Sydney needs a centralised technology district and were against a shift to the former White Bay Power station or suburban areas, as they want to create networks between advanced companies, reports The Australian.