Twenty-nine retailers have opened new stores in Darling Square, the last stage of the New South Wales government’s $3.4 billion revitalisation of Darling Harbour.
The new food, drink and lifestyle retailers have opened in Steam Mill Lane, the first retail laneway in Darling Square.
The almost-complete Darling Square precinct, developed by Lendlease, is part of the government’s 20-hectare redevelopment of Darling Harbour which includes the International Convention Centre, the ICC Theatre, Sofitel hotel and a redesigned Tumbalong Park.
Neil Arckless, Lendlease’s head of development in NSW, said the new stores will introduce new visitors to the precinct, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Arckless said Darling Square, the new neighbourhood connecting Darling Harbour with Chinatown, Haymarket and Ultimo in Sydney, didn’t happen by accident.
“We worked hard to find restaurants and shops that our residents would want, and visitors would be willing to travel for,” he said.
“Over the last few years, a lot of thinking has gone into how people would interact with and experience Darling Square and we’re thrilled to share the final outcome with the public.”
On the ground floor of The Exchange building, the centrepiece of the Darling Harbour project designed by Japanese architecture firm Kengo Kuma & Associates, is a collection of dessert and pastry creators, craft beer and fusion food specialists in the industrial-style providore marketplace known as Maker’s Dozen.
The marketplace offers casual dining and drink options with communal seating for around 350 or the option for takeaway.
A suspended artwork by Sydney artist Nike Savvas hangs over the space designed by Anthony Gill Architects, the firm behind some of Sydney’s hospitality spaces including the new Poly in Surry Hills, Ester in Chippendale and 121BC in Surry Hills.
The line-up includes Hopper Kadé serving hawker-style food from the streets of Colombo and cocktails with Sri Lankan signature spirits; Pasta Wafu, the group behind Barangaroo’s vermouth bar Banksii and Kerby Craig of Ume Burger; Boque by Tapavino, inspired by the La Boqueria market in Barcelona; and Saga Lyte by Andy Bowdy which is the ‘little sister’ to the original café and patisserie in Enmore. Bubble Nini, Fish & Co, Fishbowl and The Bucket Boys’ bar have also opened.
Twelve other retailers have opened shop in Little Hay Street, including Devon’s new concept, DOPA Donburi and Milk Bar; Rey Jr, which serves up ‘sweet and boozy’ Filipino food, cocktail and dessert combos with a tropical beach vibe; and Bengong Black which brings traditional Chinese tea and pillow-soft breads filled with fruit-infused cream topped with fresh fruits. Shortstop and Gelato Messina also line Little Hay Street alongside Thirteen Feet Tattoo and several beauty and lifestyle stores.
Korean and Japanese beauty store La Cosmetique is one of the new stores that opened in the precinct, alongside Hair Corner, FIVE Beauty, 15 Sheets and The Spec. Flight Centre has also opened a store in the area.
Haven Specialty Coffee has opened on Harbour Street and new school Vietnamese restaurant Hello Auntie brings its second venue to The Square, with a specially crafted drinks menu.
By the end of the year, Darling Square will be home to around 70 retailers across Steam Mill Lane, Maker’s Dozen and The Exchange, Little Hay Street, around the square and other surrounding streets.
Darling Harbour rises from the space once occupied by the Sydney Entertainment Centre and its car park.