The initially announced budget was ridiculous

The original Government statements guaranteed that all proceeds would be used for the museum and any surplus for arts support in Parramatta. This was repeated by Deloitte document Building Western Sydney's Cultural Arts Economy (2015) sponsored by Sydney Business Chamber (Western Sydney) Both the Government and Deloitte thus reveal incompetence, because the maximum value of the cleared site was estimated (January 16) at $250 million (Andrew Zhang, Manager, Hookers Real Estate, Pyrmont, using comparison with other available sites; the Government value is similar).

Powerhouse Museum Alliance experts calculate the cost of removing and storing the material from Powerhouse Museum at at least $200 million and demolition costs about $10 million. Land alone at Parramatta cost $140 million so the project is notionally in debt already. The Government’s cost estimate for the new building was about $1 billion in the so-called Business Case Summary (p 7).

The amount realised from sale of site for development has since been reduced by commitments to maintain an arts presence at the Ultimo site so the initial finance arrangements are even more ridiculous.

Demolishing the building would not be easy. In the 1980s Whelan the Wrecker was called in to demolish the two huge chimneys in the Transport Hall. The brickwork was up to 1.8 metres thick and beautifully interlocked in the ‘English brickwork’ pattern that is common throughout the buildings. After reaching this level, it was decided to cease demolition as it was too difficult. The remainder of the chimneys is now used as part of the temperature control system.

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