The NSW state government has left Google in the lurch as a plan to create a new innovation hub with the tech giant as the ‘anchor tenant’ has fallen through.
This isn’t the first time Google has attempted to establish a headquarters in Sydney.
The Silicon Valley-based company walked away from plans to convert the White Bay power station in Rozelle in 2017, with Google citing reasons of ‘ poor transport and access’ to the site, in a statement which was sure to embarrass the state’s Infrastructure Department.
The development of the headquarters would have been a huge win for the state’s tech and innovation sector and would have created an estimated 19,000 jobs for the NSW innovation sector.
Acting NSW Premier, John Barilaro, when questioned about the tabled proposal, stated that the NSW State Government was in the business of promoting the ‘best investment for (the) state’. Further stating that they were ‘not knocking back the idea’.
The urban developer, MIRVAC, was first in with a proposal to revamp the site, with Google as the primary tenant, however, the proposal failed the state’s ‘Uniqueness Test’; a state-government standard for all new development projects in the inner-city.
In order to pass the qualifying factors of the state government’s ‘Uniqueness Test’, the potential occupiers must prove that their presence cannot be replicated by an industry competitor.
A government source said recently to the Sydney Morning Herald, that ‘some ministers were working to salvage the deal’, however, industry analysts appear doubtful.
The biggest concern seems to be that, after two failed attempts a developing a new tech hub for Google, that the company may abandon Sydney all together and head to another state to set up its Aussie HQ.
After news of the rejected proposal hit, Victorian Minister for Innovation, Phillip Dalidakis supposedly travelled to Sydney for talks with Google to discuss the possibility of expanding their operations in Melbourne.
Regardless, a big loss for Sydney’s tech and innovation community.