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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Disney Land, Sydney?!

THE Walt Disney Company has been looking at a prime piece of real estate on Sydney Harbour as it seeks to expand its global empire of theme parks and resorts.

The NSW State Government has confirmed that Disney recently held unsolicited discussions with the Department of State and Regional Development about the redevelopment of White Bay, a working port next to the Anzac Bridge.

Disney, which has 11 theme parks, eight resorts and a cruise line across three continents, was one of a number of unnamed companies that have approached the NSW State Government with unsolicited proposals for the site, the spokesman said.

There are no "active" concepts at present.

A spokesman for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, John Nicoletti, said his company was constantly exploring opportunities to grow. "As part of that process, we have conversations with lots of entities," he said. "And, while Australia is an attractive market, at this time we have no plans for this region."

He would not comment on what Disney had envisioned for the White Bay site, including whether it was for a Disneyland theme park, a Disney resort or some other venture.

The Government has established the Bays Precinct Taskforce to formulate a development strategy for White Bay, Glebe Island, Blackwattle Bay and Rozelle Bay.

Details are expected to be released when the sub-regional strategy for Sydney's inner west goes on display this year.

The executive director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, Patricia Forsythe, said a Disneyland at White Bay would be a wonderful opportunity for Sydney. "It is a spectacular site worthy of an iconic development," she said.

She said a world-class arts facility would also be suitable.

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