When City West Development Corporation (CWDC) planned the redevelopment of Pyrmont and Ultimo, they were impressed by the success of Canary Wharf, redeveloping derelict London docklands into a high-tech precinct.
Happily for CWDC, they operated outside some of the usual procedures of government, and were free to court firms adopting modern technologies, notably IT and media companies. OPTUS and IBM were induced to move to the peninsula: media companies were also attracted – CWDC brought in Channel 10 and Foxtel, while ABC came to Ultimo, and Channel 7 to Pyrmont, as well as a cluster of independent radio stations.
An equally significant coup was achieved almost by accident: the closure of the Government Printing Office in 1989 made space for Global Switch on Harris Street. Then in 1995 Fairfax – which had worked in Ultimo for many years – survived a fire, but decided to move to new premises on Darling Island. By the 2000s the peninsula was well known for its hi-tech enterprises, so it made sense for Google to build its premises here, between Darling Island and The Star.