Infrastructure NSW is the agency responsible for managing the delivery of Sydney's new convention, exhibition and entertainment hub for the NSW Government.
The NSW Government is partnering with the private sector for the project to allow faster delivery of the convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities, foster innovation, draw upon global industry expertise and achieve value for money for the people of NSW.
To assist with achieving design excellence, Infrastructure NSW established a Design Review Panel to review design concepts during the tender phase and the preferred proponent's development documentation, and provide specialist advice throughout the project. The Design Review Panel is chaired by the NSW Government Architect and comprises two other specialist architects.
In September 2011, the NSW Government began a competitive tender process by calling for Expressions of Interest from the private sector to design, plan, construct, operate, maintain and finance the new facilities at Darling Harbour.
In April 2012, the next stage in the tender process commenced, which involved issuing a Request for Proposal to two shortlisted consortia bidding for the project. This required the consortia to prepare detailed proposals based on project briefs issued by Infrastructure NSW according to high level outcomes the State wished to achieve. Each consortium comprised leading operators, property developers, designers, builders, maintainers and financiers.
In August 2012, the two consortia submitted their proposals, which included master plans for the precinct. An Evaluation Panel appointed by Infrastructure NSW, along with a number of specialist advisers, then began a rigorous evaluation process. This group was overseen by a Steering Committee made up of independent representatives and senior government officials.
Proposals were assessed across a range of criteria including the master plan, design, delivery strategy, operations, facilities management, financial/cost imperatives and stakeholder engagement principles.
In December 2012, Darling Harbour Live (formerly Destination Sydney) was announced as the preferred consortium. The consortium comprises AEG Ogden, Lend Lease, HOOSTPLUS, Capella Capital and Spotless. Detailed negotiations between Darling Harbour Live and Infrastructure NSW immediately commenced
In March 2013, Infrastructure NSW signed the Project Deed for the Public Private Partnership components of the precinct as well as the Project Delivery Agreements for the hotel and urban neighbourhood components with Darling Harbour Live and Lend Lease. The final stage of the contractual arrangement with Darling Harbour Live, known as 'financial close', occurred at the end of 2013. Early construction works began in December 2013 and works are on track for completion by late 2016.