They’re the hidden tunnels and platforms adjoining St James Station earmarked for a potential rail link that wasn’t ultimately required.
Buried underneath the city and dating back to the 1920s, these spaces have been utilised for various purposes over the ensuing years – including as a bomb shelter during World War II.
Now, Sydney Trains is moving to repurpose these presently underutilised structures to enhance the activation of the station via an Expressions of Interest (EOI) campaign.
CBRE has been appointed to lead the process, which includes four unused platforms of circa 1,725sqm and a tunnel network of approximately 4,171sqm extending north from St James Station, below Macquarie Street and beyond Martin Place, terminating near the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, said; “We are looking for innovative proposals that both respect and showcase these unique heritage spaces. This is an opportunity to secure a long-term lease to deliver a world-class project and create an iconic new experience for Sydney’s residents and visitors.”
St James Station is a state-owned heritage asset in the heart of the Sydney CBD, below Hyde Park.
CBRE’s Head of Retail Leasing, Leif Olson, said; “These tunnels have a rich history and significant potential. We anticipate interest from a wide variety of developers, investors and occupants given the unique heritage attributes of these captivating underground spaces and their connectivity to both the CBD and broader metropolitan area.”
Mr Olson also noted that CBD property owners were increasingly reviewing how underutilised spaces such as basements, lobbies, car parks and warehouses could provide something interesting, engaging and different for the community.
“The conversion of underutilised areas into engaging social and retail precincts has been common practice in Europe for decades and it’s a trend that Australia is quickly adopting,” Mr Olson said.
“Consumers are demanding unique experiences in areas such F&B and entertainment and these tunnels provide an opportunity we haven’t previously seen in Sydney or across Australia.”
The EOI campaign closes 6th November 2018, with the successful proponent required to design, fund and develop the unused spaces under a long-term stratum lease.