This project is now known as Darling Harbour Live 

The precinct will provide contemporary facilities that are unrivalled in Australia and the capacity and flexibility for ‘mega’ conferences and a range of other major events. The precinct will include: 

  • the largest exhibition space in Australia at 40,000 sqm 
  • the biggest total meeting room space in Australia at 8,000 sqm across 40 rooms, linked to both convention and exhibition areas 
  • the biggest Australian convention capacity - able to accommodate more than 12,000 people over four different areas, allowing multiple events to take place at the same time 
  • Sydney’s largest ballroom for 2,000 people - almost double the current capacity 
  • a red carpet, premium entertainment facility with a capacity of at least 8000 people, suitable for both entertainment events and ‘mega’ conferences 
  • state-of-the-art technology throughout, such as wireless connectivity across all facilities. 
  • The project is a “three-in-one”, with the development of: 
  • the ‘ICC Sydney’ core facilities – fully integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities
  •  ‘The Haymarket’ commercial development – a mix use commercial/ residential/retail development 
  • ‘the Hotel’ – a new hotel development. 

The contract for ICC Sydney is being delivered via a Public Private Partnership (PPP) valued at some $1bn, with the market value of the Hotel and The Haymarket valued at around $1.5bn. The new and expanded ICC, the Hotel and key Public Realm areas are expected to be completed by late 2016. 

Advisian’s role 

Established in July 2011 by the incoming NSW government, Infrastructure NSW was handed the task of procuring and delivering this $2.5 billion project. Following the short-listing of three consortia after the Expression of Interest stage, Advisian was appointed as Transaction Manager for the project in January 2012. 

The project involved a large and complex scope, multiple contract packages with a range of separate commercial arrangements, and extensive brownfield redevelopment on crowded land bordering Sydney’s CBD and the Darling Harbour foreshore. Development of an acceptable commercial framework, understanding and managing planning risks, and efficient management of the tender were critical elements to the project’s successful procurement. 

Advisian appointed a core team, with key experience in PPP projects, to be embedded within the Infrastructure NSW project team, managing all aspects of the procurement process through to Contract Close. Our procurement approach needed to deliver a single solution embodying the ICC Sydney, The Haymarket and the Hotel, whilst addressing the interdependencies between the three major components and their contractual arrangements. 

In the context of this ‘three-in-one’ project and a very tight timeframe, Advisian managed the delivery of the following key elements in the procurement process: 

  • development of the Request for Proposal (RFP) tender documents including leading the drafting of two of the four volumes and the establishment of the evaluation criteria. 
  • the structure and management of the Interactive Tender Process (ITP) with the consortia through the RFP phase, including development of the required protocols and ITP approach – resulting in open and productive discussions throughout the procurement process whilst maintaining strict probity requirements. 
  • the development of the Evaluation Plan and other key governance documents including the Steering Committee terms of reference, linking together the process, resources, key elements of the deal and the governance requirements to deliver an efficient evaluation. 
  • establishment of a secure tender evaluation facility and associated ICT infrastructure and overall security protocols including interface with the probity auditor. 
  • management of the tender evaluation process involving a team of some 100 people (including evaluation team members and specialist advisors) and the establishment and management of the Request for Information process (see below). 
  • the structure and management of the Request for Information (RFI) process through bespoke design of online data rooms, eliminating the use of traditional ‘e-mail and spreadsheet’ approach. This, in the context of managing over 800 RFIs with a large team spread across four subpanels and the requirement to quarantine price sensitive information.
  • the development, management and delivery of the Evaluation Report and co-ordination of the evaluation subpanel and specialist advisor reports.
  • management of the process to the appointment of the Preferred Proponent including the adoption of an Agreed Positions Paper concept for locking down commercial issues.
  • the strategic development of the deal close process, mapping the key milestones and approaches to effectively close this complex deal.
  • the subsequent active involvement in the negotiation of the Project Deed (PPP) and the Project Delivery Agreements (separate agreements for the Hotel and The Haymarket).

In addition to the Transaction Manager role, Advisian also provided an independent strategic cost plan review of the reference design, managed and facilitated the risk management process and continues to provide ongoing Project Management support focussed on the site investigations and interface with utility providers.


Advisian seamlessly integrated into the INSW project team and drew upon both the experience of the team and the depth of the Advisian’s resources and knowledge to rise to the challenges presented by such a large and complex infrastructure project.  The procurement process has set a new standard in terms of process and time-line in NSW, taking some 11 months from RFP publication to Contract Close and just seven months from submission of tenders to Contract Close.  Having reached Contract Close, a foundation has been laid for this key project in the delivery of a great outcome for the NSW Government and the people of NSW. The project is expected to deliver $200 million annually and $5 billion over the PPP concession term in economic benefit to NSW, stemming from increased tourism, international trade, knowledge transfer, and significantly increased social amenity to the residents of Sydney.

Advisian was awarded the Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) 2014 Award for Advisory Excellence for its role as Transaction Advisor on this project. 

In early 2014, the project was awarded the PPP Deal of the Year in the PFI Asia- Pacific Awards.