Sydney Modern expansion status uncertain after contractor withdraws bid

Lendlease has reportedly withdrawn its bid to build the long-planned Sydney Modern expansion at the Art Gallery of NSW in Australia.

The AUS$344m (US$233m, €210m, £193m) project was first announced six years ago and has been funded mostly by the New South Wales (NSW) Government, with AUS$100m (US$68m, €61m, £56m) coming from private philanthropy.

When announced in 2013 the project cost was estimated at AU$400m. This was revised up to AUS$450m in 2014, but then pared back to AUS$344m to fit the funds available.

The design ‒ a series of cascading glass boxes envisioned by Japanese architectural firm SANAA ‒ has also been pared back in line with budget restrictions.

Infrastructure NSW is managing the project on behalf of the gallery and the NSW Government, and its spokesperson told ABC News that the procurement process to appoint a construction partner was now "ongoing".

Announcing planning approval in November 2018, Don Harwin, minister of the arts for the NSW Government, said the extension would allow the gallery to "become one of the world’s great art museums, increasing visitation to an expected two million people a year".

Projections are that it would double the number of visitors and inject over AUS$1bn (US$680m, €610m, £560m) into the NSW economy over 25 years.

However, political opposition to the NSW Government has reportedly cast doubt on whether the funding is in place and whether the project's proposed 2021 completion date will hold.

Art Gallery of NSW  Sydney Modern  Lendlease  SANAA 
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