It’s hard not to see Google’s decision not to move the mooted digital hub at Sydney’s White Bay as nothing short of a humiliation for the New South Wales state government.
The White Bay project is the centrepiece of the NSW government’s startup tech startup strategy and Google were hoped to be the anchor tenant for the refurbished power station that’s been abandoned for over thirty years.
With Google’s Sydney office currently overflowing and its staff numbers expected to increase from around 1500 today to 10,000 over the next few years, the White Bay precinct with its cathedral like power station made some sense.
For the startup community, having something similar to the London Google Campus would have been a valuable part of the city’s ecosystem.
However the location is in a traffic blackspot served by a woefully inadequate and unreliable bus service with a series of major road projects planned to start in the neighbourhood over the next five years which forced Google to rethink their plans.
Now it looks like the White Bay project getting underway this year is doomed and meanwhile the Victorian state government is spending big to attract tech companies to Melbourne.
This is far from the first time the NSW government has had ambitions for a digital hub and again a project stumbles in the face of poor planning by the NSW government.
We don’t know if the Victorian government has made an offer to Google yet, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they have. It could be New South Wales is about to pay the price for its lack of vision and forethought.