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Rosehill owner bets big on $5b housing, metro plan

Sydney racecourse to be replaced with houses

A chance to put 25,000 homes on the lush, uncontaminated grounds of Rosehill Racecourse at a cost of more than $500 million is an easy financial decision, NSW taxpayers have been told.

The ambitious proposal to transform the 138-year-old Sydney racecourse into a housing precinct was unveiled on Thursday as part of a suite of initiatives marrying 40 station precincts with 210,000 homes.

Under the racetrack owner’s proposal, taxpayers would fork out more than $500 million for a new school and a stop on the $25 billion Metro West line.

The plan was trumpeted by NSW Premier Chris Minns, excited about building on one of the city’s last large parcels of land untouched by industrial waste.

“Sydney would get an extra 25,000 dwellings – for a city that is already experiencing near-unparalleled housing crisis, this is an easy financial decision for us to make,” he said.

The opportunity to have a metro station had catapulted the value of the Rosehill land to $5 billion, opening the door to a “daunting” shift away from a track steeped in history, owner Australian Turf Club said.

“It is a compelling, once-in-100-year opportunity to transform our racing industry, completely securing its future,” turf club chairman Peter McGauran said.

“Sports die if they don’t reinvigorate … and reinvest into the future.”

The proposal, in the works for months and due to be finalised in late 2024, would have the final race run and won by 2030.

About 300 to 400 stables will be relocated west to Horsley Park while ageing city tracks Warwick Farm and Canterbury will have substantial redevelopments.

About 185,000 homes were also expected in four years as a result of snap rezoning to increase density around 39 station precincts across Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

That shift and an edict forcing Sydney Metro to broaden the catchment of Metro West stations would ensure infrastructure was linked to homes, the premier said.

“They’re city-shaping [announcements] and they’ll transform the way Sydney works into the future,” Mr Minns said.

“We cannot have a situation like the last decade where we’ve had brand new housing and no infrastructure or major new infrastructure and virtually no new housing.”

The transport-orientated development program would build up to 47,800 well-located, high and mid-rise homes within a 1200-metre radius of eight tier-one station precincts over the next 15 years.

About $520 million in public funds would be reserved for community infrastructure such as roads and open spaces.

Another 138,000 homes could be built through snap rezoning in 31 tier-two precincts, opening the door to residential flat buildings within 400m of metro or suburban rail stations.

The opposition’s enthusiasm for the projects was tempered by a lack of details and the reality no homes would be ready by the next election.

Leader Mark Speakman touted an immediate reduction in immigration numbers as the best option to immediately address housing unaffordability.

Pro-density groups welcomed the program putting NIMBYs “in retreat”, but questioned why the eastern suburbs were left out

“These places in the east have so much amazing amenity, great public transport and close access to jobs and the Sydney CBD,” Housing Now chair David Borger said.

A target to dedicate up to 15 per cent of tier-one zones for affordable housing also drew some criticism for being a ceiling, not a floor.

“With the cost of housing currently 13.3 times the average salary, we need to push our ambition higher,” the Committee for Sydney said.

The 39 precincts were identified through an examination of 305 stations for areas capable of handling more density, Planning Minister Paul Scully said.

– AAP

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