The Midtown connection
Midtown MacPark is more than just a sought-after new neighbourhood in Sydney’s north-west. It’s a new kind of urban village where everyone and everything is connected.
At a smidge over eight hectares—and with a full third of that put aside for open green space and conservation area—Midtown MacPark, the visionary new neighbourhood by Frasers Property Australia, brims with features that belie its village-like size. A short walk from Sydney’s top-ranked Macquarie University and the shops, restaurants, and recreation spots of Macquarie Centre, Midtown represents a new approach to creating socially vibrant and environmentally sustainable communities where everyone and everything is connected. According to Midtown’s Development Director Scott Clohessy, connection is the key theme of the project, with every feature and inclusion—no matter how small—part of a larger vision to create north-west Sydney’s most inclusive and connected new neighbourhood.
“This masterplan represents a series of interconnected decisions like where to put the roads and key services, as well how to create seamless links to the surrounding suburbs,” says Scott. “At Midtown our thinking extends beyond that to creating social and shared spaces, elevating quality of life for residents of all ages and abilities, providing facilities that help keep people active and healthy, and making sure it’s all set-up to be a resilient environment that will thrive for years to come. It requires holistic thinking so that every small decision acts to contribute to the lived experience people will have here.”
One of the first decisions for the $2.2 billion development was to make it entirely walkable. Pedestrian-friendly, Midtown’s streets, green links, cobbled mews and walking paths connect the Midtown Marketplace and village green to an array of Midtown residences, proposed school and childcare, playgrounds and parks including the ecological corridor of Shrimpton’s Creek Reserve and cycleway, and the community pool and pay-as-you-go gymnasium. For those who do not own a vehicle but might need access to one from time to time, Midtown MacPark’s plans include provision for 50 on-site car-share services. Best of all, public transport users are just 500m from the Macquarie University Metro stop.
To further aid walkability and accessibility for residents of all ages and abilities, Frasers Property made the decision to reduce the slope into the site and create a largely flat layout for the neighbourhood. “It’s probably not something people will even notice or think about that often, but by reducing the slope across most of the land we can make it easier for residents to navigate,” explains Scott. “That makes a big difference if you’re an older person carrying your shopping home or a young mum or dad pushing a pram.
Looking to the future
Keeping Midtown life comfortable and sustainable for generations to come means a raft of best-practise interconnected green initiatives have seen the neighbourhood already achieve its 6-Star Green Star Community rating. Buildings have been designed to incorporate green rooftops, shaded facades, and mature tree planting to reduce heat gain on lower level apartment windows and the streets below. To fast-track these outcomes, Frasers Property’s partners in the nursery trade (Andreasons Green) have been nurturing a selection of trees for more than four years so that by the time they are ready to be planted on site, they’re already well on their way to maturity.
In another example of interconnected thinking, Frasers Property developed an embedded energy network at Midtown MacPark to provide carbon-neutral power to residents through its 100%owned energy retailer, Real Utilities. Utilising rooftop solar, Real Utilities benchmarks its energy rates twice yearly against currently advertised discount prices from the three biggest energy retailers in its local area, ensuring customers always have cheaper rates. Apartments in the development’s three residences— MAC, Soul, and Treehouse—will be all-electric, as will the Midtown community centre. Hot water will be delivered via a high-efficiency centralised system with reduced costs to end users. Finally, storm water will be harvested and re-used in the development’s many private green spaces.
Cameron Jackson, Frasers Property Australia’s General Manager Development NSW, says Midtown MacPark will be a sustainability flagship for the company. “By embedding sustainability in everything we do at Midtown we’ll be delivering quality of life benefits for our community, but also cost of living advantages,” Cameron says. “The community can expect lower power bills as well as the satisfaction of knowing that the heating and cooling of their homes isn’t having an impact on the planet. And they won’t have to choose between access to green spaces and apartment living—they’ll have both.
Places to meet, learn, and grow
If environmental sustainability is one half of Midtown MacPark’s DNA, social sustainability is the other. Facilitating neighbourhood connections, providing more diversity of housing, and creating new vocational opportunities are all part of the overall vision to create a place that generates its own social capital and sustains a supportive community spirit. Creating opportunities for work, play, education, and cultural appreciation are key, says Scott Clohessy.
One of the first initiatives is the establishment of a community garden with a bush tucker and native flora theme. “Community gardens are fantastic places to bring people together in a shared love of growing food,” says Scott. “But we also wanted the garden at Midtown MacPark to pay homage to the food and medicinal herbs of First Nations people, while providing an opportunity to experience a connection to country through indigenous plants.” Until the permanent facility is complete the temporary community garden features mobile self-watering garden beds from VegePod, along with some freestanding pots for taller and climbing plants. The plant mix supplied by Muru Mittigarand and Indigigrow includes a mix of indigenous and traditional edible plants including rivermint, lemon myrtle, pig face, lilli pilli, yam daisy, chocolate lily, vanilla lily, basil, rocket, marigold, coslettuce, hot peppers, parsley, coriander, salt bush, sweet corn, beans and zucchini.
Aside from providing enjoyment and education for residents and local community, the harvest from the community garden may find its way into the kitchens of another worthy social enterprise that’s made a home at Midtown MacPark: the Darcy Street Project cafe. Providing training and employment opportunities to early migrants, people living with a disability, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, Darcy Street Project’s goal is to make it easier for young people to gain job experience and increase their confidence and vocational skills. “Frasers Property Australia’s vision for Midtown MacPark is about inclusion and diversity. This is our focus at Darcy Street Project as well. We share the vision of creating something for the community’s benefit to deliver a lasting, positive social impact,” says Darcy Street Project founder John Cafferatta.
The opportunity to connect and create new social bonds is a built-in design feature of the third apartment building to be released at Midtown MacPark, named the Treehouse. Designed by award-winning architects Studio Johnson, the Treehouse features a series of ‘outdoor’ rooms with airy three-storey ceilings that punctuate the tower’s facade and create peaceful and welcoming spaces for residents to enjoy. “These spaces are designed to expand the bounds of the apartment and give people a spot to casually bump into neighbours,” says Scott. “It’s kind of like having a mini park in the sky where you can hang out with friends, or work or study in the fresh air. By thinking a bit differently about apartment design, I think we’ve come up with something that brings more social opportunity to apartment lifestyle.”