Council has acquired an electrical substation located at 6 Valentine Avenue as part of broader streetscape upgrades being undertaken throughout the Parramatta CBD Southern Precinct. The location of 6 Valentine Avenue within the Parramatta CBD Southern Precinct is shown in the diagram below.

Location of 6 Valentine Avenue within the Parramatta CBD Southern Precinct

The site is not heritage listed, but we think it’s pretty cool and want to know if you do too!

Further information about the substation, why Council acquired it, it's history and possible future uses is provided in the Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of the page.

Consultation findings and next steps

During the consultation period (Monday 20 July to Monday 3 August 2020), Council received 184 completed surveys and had 51 responses to a Facebook poll.

We wanted to develop a better understanding of the types of businesses that the community may like to see operating out of the substation so as to ensure that any investment Council makes on the site will be worthwhile.

The feedback we received clearly demonstrated that the community looks fondly on the building with a variety of positive comments (88% favourable) provided about the heritage and architectural value of the site.

Community responses indicated that the substation should be repurposed to operate as either a café or small bar, with strong interest also for the idea that it could be used as a site to provide facilities for the homeless. Over the next 12 months, Council will progress investigations into the viability of these uses.

To find out more about what we heard and the next steps, please read the Engagement Summary Report which is available in the resources section.

Council will keep you updated on the status of this project on this page and/or via email (if you provided your email in the survey).

Frequently asked questions

The acquisition is required for proposed road widening works on Valentine Avenue. Valentine Avenue is proposed to be converted to two-way to allow for traffic changes required to implement the broader CBD Southern Precinct Renewal Project (refer to section below for information on this project). A slip lane has already been constructed to allow for this at the corner of Valentine Avenue and Parkes Street.

The area required to be acquired (as annotated within the Parramatta Local Environmental Plan 2011) falls within one lot which includes the former substation, previously owned by an energy company. The substation was surplus to the operational requirements of the company and they agreed to enter into acquisition discussions with the City of Parramatta on the basis that the entire lot, including the substation, was sold.

The City of Parramatta Council resolved to acquire the substation at its meeting 9 June 2020.

The CBD Southern Precinct Renewal Project refers to various public domain upgrade projects throughout an area bounded by Church Street, Fitzwilliam Street, Valentine Avenue and Parkes Street, Parramatta. Upgrades to Firehorse Lane were completed in 2019 as part of this project and future upgrades are planned for Valentine Avenue, Wentworth Street and the ground level in and around the Wentworth Street Car Park.

The substation has no heritage listing on State or Local registers.

The existing single-storey brick building has an approximate footprint of 50 square metres. It sits within a lot that is approximately 220 square metres in size.

Based on site-specific historical research undertaken for the site, the subject building is a former electrical substation that is thought to have been constructed on behalf of the former Prospect County Council in the period between 1957 and 1961. The building, known as “Substation No. 835”, continued to operate until 2004 when the building became surplus to the requirements of the energy company responsible for its operation. All electrical equipment and machinery has been removed and the building has essentially been left vacant. No structural changes have been undertaken, therefore retaining the shape and footprint of the original building.

The building has held up pretty well! Check out the photos below.

The substation will require works to make it suitable for a future use. The scope and nature of these works is dependent on the use, which is why we are asking the community what you would prefer the building to be used for in the first instance. Council will then undertake further assessment of the viability of these uses in priority of what the community suggests and what further investment is required, which may include bathrooms or various other alterations to the building.

A contamination report has been prepared for the site, which has concluded that the site is suitable from a contamination / hazardous material perspective for commercial / industrial use, which includes cafes and retail. Further investigations may be required if alterations are proposed to the concrete slab upon which the site sits.

Council would like to see this building repurposed in a way that contributes positively to the streetscape and the cultural offer of the Parramatta CBD. We see significant opportunities for this building to be repurposed in a way that celebrates its unique character and charm as a historic civil asset.

Council is in the process of assessing the viability of all possible options which help meet the above objectives. This process is required to ensure that any future use is sustainable and complements the offer provided by other great businesses in the area. This process has just commenced and Council’s Place Services team is seeking initial guidance from the community about what you would prefer to use the building for. The feedback received will be used to determine the degree of further investment required to make the building available for the community’s preferred use.

Images of different options below.

A social enterprise is an organisation that is focussed on achieving positive social outcomes, such as support for disadvantaged individuals, projects which enhance health outcomes, or initiatives which help strengthen a community. They may use commercial strategies such as the sale of goods and services to achieve these outcomes. Examples within Parramatta are listed on Council’s website.