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Parramatta: A City in Transformation

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Parramatta, located just 20 kilometres from Sydney CBD, is making a name for itself. With a population of more than 230,000 people and another 41,000 expected to move to Parramatta in the next five years, the city is being touted as one of Sydney’s most desirable places to live. 

Latest housing data from NSW Planning shows Parramatta at the top of the list with projected 22,100 new dwellings expected by 2023, followed by Blacktown with 18,300 and Sydney with 14,850. 

More than 230,000 people call Parramatta home, and another 41,000 people expected to move there over the next 5 years. According to realestate.com.au, Paramatta is a relatively young city with an average age of 30. The median property price sits at $915,000 for houses and $600,000 for units. These days you will find an overwhelming number of apartment buildings reaching to the sky in Parramatta. 

Hans Kunnen, Principal & Chief Economist at Compass Economics, spoke to Jobsite ANZ about the stimulating factors behind Parramatta’s growth. 

“A combination of repurposed industrial land, new transport links, the initial appointment of administrators following council amalgamations and office developments are transforming Parramatta. The development of Badgerys Creek airport will add another dimension. Not everyone is happy with the process of change, but, in total, it is creating employment and business opportunities. Parramatta is growing as a hub for jobs, which is lifting the demand for new and, hopefully, well-planned housing.” Said Kunnen. 

Making headlines in Parramatta is The Lennox. Designed by architects Johnson Pilton Walker and Marchese Partners, The Lennox is located in the heart of Parramatta’s Church Street precinct, a stone’s throw from the historic Lennox Bridge. 

The $450 million, 47-level mixed-use project was named ‘Best International Project’ at the 2018 PCBC Gold Nugget Awards in San Francisco. The awards are considered the ‘Academy Awards’ of the global building industry. 

The Lennox’s use of innovation and technology to overcome project challenges impressed the judges, who said, “The building mass is driven by the creative plan geometry and emphasises the verticality of the building. This geometry also gives almost every unit two to three sides of light and ventilation. The crisp, minimalist interiors are sophisticated and well executed. 

“[We] commend the sustainable design, celebration of history and aboriginal heritage, and reclamation of the urban riverfront. This is the kind of residential community that makes a big impact on the community at large.” 

With construction expected to be complete by mid-2020, The Lennox will provide 441 residences, including luxurious Sky Villas. The project also includes 5,500sqm of retail and mixed-use space as well as eight levels of basement parking. 

Along with The Lennox, there are a number of other inner-city residential and mixed-used developments underway. 

The Galleria apartments, located in the heart of Parramatta, are currently under construction by Nucorp, with architect Architex at the helm. 

Meanwhile, developer Merhis Living is working with Nordo Jago Architects on the construction of a high-rise residential apartment block. The Imperial is spread across two buildings, both reaching 21 storeys. 

West Village is a prestige apartment build by Woods Bagot. Ecoworld International are due to complete the project this year at a cost of $165 million. The landmark 40-storey tower features 397 luxury apartments. It’ll have a communal rooftop garden with BBQ facilities and will be complemented by retail and commercial spaces located on lower floors. 

We then have the controversial Parramatta School project which has blown the initial budget by a whopping $225 million. Grimshaw Architects are working with the NSW Department of Education to provide Parramatta with a modern school to support families in the district. 

Arthur Phillip High School will house 2,000 students and Parramatta Public School, 1,000 students. The build, which is also more than a year behind schedule, is now expected to cost $325 million. The schools were due to open last year. However, they will only take their first students in term four this year. 

Arthur Phillip high school spans 17 levels and features chic design elements including mezzanine levels, oversized lifts, and indoor/outdoor learning spaces. 

Even with the massive budget blowout, Education Minister Rob Stokes has defended the new Parramatta primary and high schools as state-of-the-art buildings that would serve students for a century. 

The budget changes are related to unexpected archaeological finds, an increase in the scale of the design, rising building costs caused by the construction boom, overly optimistic initial forecasts, and a desire to build a school that would stand the test of time, Mr Stokes said. 

Glascott Landscape & Civil have been engaged to undertake landscape construction on the project. Stage 1 landscape works have recently commenced with completion due in August 2019. Stage 2 is due to commence in April 2020 with full project completion by August 2020. 

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