MLC North Sydney

Independent Assessment of Development Application

North Sydney Council

North Sydney, NSW
Cammeraygal Country

The MLC Building is a landmark modernist skyscraper in the central business district of North Sydney. Completed in 1956, it was the first high-rise office block in North Sydney.

North Sydney Council commissioned GML to prepare an independent assessment of a Development Application (DA) proposing to demolish the existing MLC Building at North Sydney and construct a new 27-storey commercial building.

The MLC North Sydney building is listed as a heritage item of local significance in Schedule 5 of the North Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2013 (NSLEP 2013). GML reviewed the Statement of Heritage Impact (RPS Group 2019), the Council Conservation Planner’s assessment of the DA, and submissions from a range of stakeholders, community organisations and individuals.

GML’s independent assessment of the DA concluded that the building is of State heritage significance and recommended that the DA be refused. This assessment was submitted as part of North Sydney Council’s submission to the Independent Planning Commission for the proposed listing of the MLC Building, North Sydney on the State Heritage Register.

In June 2021 the NSW Minister for Heritage, the Hon. Don Harwin, directed that the building was to be listed on the State Heritage Register. The listing ‘celebrates the importance of this building to the history of architectural design in NSW and Australia and will provide protection for its heritage values for future generations’.

However, in July 2022 the Heritage Council was ordered to remove the listing due to irregularities in the Minister’s decision to list the building on the State Heritage Register.

North Sydney Council refused the DA and the applicant appealed the decision in the NSW Land and Environment Court (NSWLEC). In May 2023 Senior Commissioner Dixon dismissed the appeal, finding the MLC building is of State heritage significance. GML’s assessment of the development application was instrumental in the findings of the NSWLEC supporting the State heritage values of the building.

In December 2023, the NSW Minister for Heritage, Penny Sharpe, announced that the MLC North Sydney building had been added to the State Heritage Register.