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DESIGN & STYLE

Sydney's Abandoned Underground St James Tunnels Could Be Opened Up to the Public

The NSW Government plans to turn the underground space into restaurants, bars, shops and cultural spaces.
By Lauren Vadnjal
October 01, 2018
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By Lauren Vadnjal
October 01, 2018
  shares

By now, it feels like no stone has been unturned by Sydney's big developers. But you know where they haven't developed yet? Underground. So perhaps that's why the NSW Government has set its sights below street level — today it announced its plans to turn the St James tunnels, a large subterranean space that adjoins St James Station, into an underground attraction.

The tunnel is, after all, just sitting there. It was built back in the 1920s as part of a plan to connect the CBD with eastern suburbs, but the project was never realised. Since then, it's been used as an air raid shelter during World War II, an operations bunker for the air force and as a location for The Matrix Revolutions. Tours used to run, but now there's no way for the public to access the tunnels.

The NSW Government is opening this one up to the floor, and is seeking expressions of interest from both local and international developers. Ideally, it would like something that would turn the tunnel and its platform into a "world-renowned attraction" — perhaps restaurants, bars, shops, or cultural and entertainment spaces.

"Spaces like the St James tunnel are rare," said Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance in a statement today. "Around the world, hidden spaces are being converted into unique experiences and we want St James Station to be part of that."

Expressions of interest will close November 6 — after they've been received, the process will be managed by Sydney Trains and real estate company CBRE. We'll keep you updated on the next stage of the process.

Published on October 01, 2018 by Lauren Vadnjal

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