Image: An artist’s rendering of the Macquarie Point project illustrates a connection with the proposed Northern Suburbs Light Rail Project

Macquarie Point offers a once in a generation opportunity for Hobart, with the residential component key to ensuring the mixed use development has vibrancy and life day and night.

That’s the firm view of Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Michael Bailey, who said he believed the $2 billion plan had the capacity to change the capital for the better.

Mr Bailey said the new vision for the much maligned 9ha site – to be developed over 30 years and in three stages – was a step in the right direction.

It would transform the waterfront area in a similar fashion to how Launceston’s City Deal and Devonport’s Living Cities project would energise those cities, he said.

“The Macquarie Point projects links local, State and Federal Governments to plan something that has the potential to change Hobart forever,” Mr Bailey said.

“One example is the Antarctic and Science precinct, which could potentially house both IMAS and the CSIRO. Think of the creative, productive science hub that would build.

“Hobart is regarded as a global gateway city to Antarctica, so this has the potential to create a world leading precinct as well as complimenting Tasports $60 million masterplan for the city’s port.

“The science precinct could then also free up the land on which the CSIRO now sits. Imagine that properly developed, which is already a conversation underway with stakeholders like the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania and Destination Southern Tasmania.”

And while he acknowledges it won’t be a quick fix, Mr Bailey said any development needed to be underpinned by a range of residential developments within the precinct.

“The TCCI is firmly of the belief that the site must be active after 5.30pm … which is why a residential component is so important, if not critical, to the whole project,” Mr Bailey said.

“Accommodation was always part of the long-term masterplan, but it has now been brought forward in this latest version.

“There is an argument that we could see another major, luxury hotel at the site but every similar development in the world like this one includes housing.

“I would like to see a range of residential opportunities, but importantly, housing for Tasmanians who are working in the City of Hobart, as well as a raft of diverse housing options.

“The more housing we can create, the more stock that becomes available in Greater Hobart, to address the growing need for housing of all types – affordable and otherwise.

“Having residential and commercial elements makes sense, to activate the site at night.”

Mr Bailey said it was imperative to have the plan signed off ready for construction to begin to ensure no slowdown in construction across the city.

“At present in Hobart, we see multiple cranes in the sky – completing, for example, the Royal Hobart Hospital redevelopment and the Parliament Square project, where work is continuing on the Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel and plaza adjacent to the Salamanca Building.

“But as the current major projects are completed, we will need more projects for our construction industry.”

The new Masterplan includes many elements of the 2016 MONA Vision, as well as provision for the Northern Suburbs Light Rail project.

Mr Bailey said it was vitally important that we properly celebrate our Aboriginal history within the development.

“What I am also pleased to see is the retention of large areas of open space for everyone to enjoy,” he said.