Disney considered plans for White Bay (Sydney)
(Sydney, Australia. 27 February 2008)
THE Walt Disney Company has been eyeing off a prime piece of real estate on Sydney Harbour as it seeks to expand its global empire of theme parks and resorts.
The State Government has confirmed Disney recently held unsolicited discussions with the Department of State and Regional Development about the redevelopment of White Bay, a working port next to the Anzac Bridge.
A spokesman for the Minister for State Development, Ian Macdonald, would not elaborate on what was proposed during the discussions, saying only that they took place in the past few months and had been discontinued.
Disney, which has 11 theme parks, eight resorts and a cruise line across three continents, was one of a number of unnamed companies that have approached the Government with unsolicited proposals for the site, the spokesman said.
There were no "active concepts" at present, he said.
A spokesman for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, John Nicoletti, said his company was constantly exploring opportunities to grow. "As part of that process, we have conversations with lots of entities," he said. "And, while Australia is an attractive market, at this time we have no plans for this region."
He would not comment on what Disney had envisioned for the White Bay site, including whether it was for a Disneyland theme park, a Disney resort or some other venture.
The Government has established the Bays Precinct Taskforce to formulate a development strategy for White Bay, Glebe Island, Blackwattle Bay and Rozelle Bay.
Details are expected to be released when the sub-regional strategy for Sydney's inner west goes on display this year.
The executive director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, Patricia Forsythe, said a Disneyland at White Bay would be a wonderful opportunity for Sydney. "It is a spectacular site worthy of an iconic development," she said.
She said a world-class arts facility would also be suitable.
The secretary of the White Bay Precinct Committee, Christina Ritchie, said locals must have a say on the site's development. She could not comment on the Disney discussion without more detail.
DUD Comment – Whilst we would like to see this project get off the ground, there is a long way to go before any signature hits a contract. White Bay would be a great location for visitors, however there will be concerns from residents that would have to be overcome, as well as potential traffic issues. We'll be following this story with great interest over the coming months!