Carsingha chief executive Guy Parhor said a concept masterplan for the site, released on Friday, included a “vibrant new food and dining precinct”, new parks and public spaces and improved pedestrian access from the adjacent parklands, residential areas and eastern suburbs light rail line.
The consortium is pushing for a fresh 99-year lease – with the current one due to expire in 2046 – in return for what it says will be a $1.2 billion capital investment to revitalise the precinct.
Mr Parhor said one of two tree-lined boulevards would be a 200-metre-long pedestrian street flanked by cafes, restaurants, bars and a fresh food market for residents and visitors to events.
He likened the stretch to Barcelona’s La Rambla and said it would double as an event location for food festivals and markets.
The phased development would include an office block up to 20 storeys at the centre of the site, a hotel among buildings of eight to 10 storeys, and lower blocks towards the surrounding streets.
The existing showring would become a sports field for public use with spectator seating, a jogging track, exercise stations, capacity for events such as jazz concerts, and a children’s playground.
The tallest building at the site would provide an office hub for creative industries – accommodating 8000 potential jobs – centred around the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).
“Key to the success of these social spaces and the food and dining precinct will be people – without a critical mass of people during the day and night even the best designed public spaces will fail,” Mr Parhor said.
Sydney Business Chamber executive director Katherine Regan said the planned “eat street” would create a “vibrant new dining district … contributing to revitalising the city’s night-time economy”.
“For many years this under-utilised precinct promised more than it delivered and this is a great opportunity to reinvigorate it along with Sydney icons like the Hordern Pavilion and the old showground buildings.”
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet said the government had received the concept proposal and it was “of sufficient interest, and merit, to warrant further consideration”.
Carsingha’s proposal elaborates the Centennial and Moore Park Trust’s 2017 masterplan for the area, which appeared to endorse more intensive uses for the Entertainment Quarter.
The plans would likely require a change in legislation. Under planning laws, development at the entertainment precinct is limited to use related to the film, television and video industries.
The state government announcement last year that the Hordern Pavilion would remain a live music venue, while the Sydney Swans would move into the Royal Hall of Industries, following speculation both buildings would be turned over to private use and sporting groups.
Local opponents and the lord mayor of the City of Sydney, Clover Moore, have previously voiced concerns they would not be adequately consulted on plans to redevelop the Moore Park site.
Mr Parhor said the Entertainment Quarter proposal, which does not include residential development, was the result of “a detailed masterplanning exercise” and community consultation.
Megan Gorrey is the Urban Affairs reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.