‘So good for Sydney’: fashion industry welcomes $500m reinvention of Powerhouse Ultimo

Australia’s fashion and design industries have welcomed the New South Wales government’s plan to transform the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo in what has been described as the single-biggest investment in arts and culture since the building of the Opera House.

The NSW government announced on Tuesday that it would spend between $480m and $500m to turn the Ultimo site into a fashion and design hub.

The future of the heritage building in the inner-city suburb has been uncertain for years. In 2015 then-premier Mike Baird announced the building would be sold off to apartment developers, with the entirety of the museum’s expansive holdings moved to a new site in Parramatta. After five years of controversy and fierce community opposition, Gladys Berejiklian’s government abandoned those plans in 2020, but maintained its commitment to a second Parramatta site.

On Tuesday, NSW arts minister Don Harwin announced this year’s state budget would contain “the first tranch” required to fund “the complete renewal of this building”.