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NSW Government to purchase Parramatta riverfront site for new Powerhouse Parramatta

NSW Government to purchase Parramatta riverfront site for new Powerhouse Parramatta
August 5, 2017

The NSW Government has reached an in-principle agreement with the City of Parramatta that will secure the first step towards relocating the Powerhouse Museum from its current site in Ultimo in central Sydney to Parramatta in the city’s west.

Under the agreement, the NSW Government will pay the Council $140 million to secure the site it chose in April 2016 for the Museum’s new location, situated on the south bank of the Parramatta River.

However, as a result of lobbying, the NSW Government has indicated the collection of the Powerhouse Museum may not be relocated in its entirety.

In a statement announcing the purchase, the NSW Government said it “will retain an arts and cultural presence at the current Ultimo site following the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian went on to explains “the Powerhouse at Parramatta will include the best exhibits currently at Ultimo and will build on them.”

Andrew Nimmo, the Australian Institute of Architects NSW President, described the move by the government as “a sting in the tail” in an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Argueing for the retention of the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, Nimmo wrote “this (move) suggests the downgrading of the Powerhouse facility at Ultimo, with no assurance as to how the site will be used.”

The transformation of the former Powerhouse building in Ultimo into the current Museum, designed by NSW Government Architect Ian Thompson, received the state’s highest honour for public architecture, the Sulman Medal, in 1988.

Nimmo added “what should be non-negotiable in this discussion is that the Ultimo Powerhouse site remains in public hands and retained for cultural uses. The Ultimo Powerhouse Museum has served the public well for nearly 30 years.”

The NSW Government says it is “undertaking a business case to determine the future of the current Ultimo site”, having, in February 2015, announced plans to sell the Powerhouse Museum Ultimo site for an estimated $200 million.

In February this year, a NSW parliamentary inquiry heard that the cost of constructing the new museum could be between $600 million and $800 million.

The agreement with the City of Parramatta also includes a $100 million redevelopment of the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta and $40 million for the arts and culture community over 20 years, funded by the City of Parramatta.

Image: Artists impression of the proposed new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta. 

21st June 2017 - NSW BUDGET INVESTS IN ARTS, EVENTS AND TOURISM

7th May 2017 - SYDNEY’S POWERHOUSE MUSEUM TO HOST INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

24th April 2017 - SYDNEY MUSEUM ALLIANCE SAYS MOVING POWERHOUSE MUSEUM COLLECTION TO PARRAMATTA ‘ABSOLUTE MADNESS’ 

31st March 2017 - NSW GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES $30 MILLION FUNDING COMMITMENT FOR NEW PARRAMATTA POOL 

28th June 2016 - FREE ENTRY DRAWS CROWDS TO SYDNEY’S MUSEUMS

14th April 2016 - CONFIRMED MUSEUM OF APPLIED ARTS AND SCIENCES DIRECTOR TO LEAD INSTITUTION INTO A NEW ERA 

11th April 2016 - POWERHOUSE MUSEUM TO BE RELOCATED TO THE BANKS OF THE PARRAMATTA RIVER


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