Portland redevelopment aims to create cultural hub in NSW’s Central West

Investment in NSW’s Central West town of Portland is set to reposition the area as a weekend getaway location for Sydneysiders and serve as a gateway to the region.

A six-year masterplan to redevelop heritage precinct, The Foundations Portland, will see the addition of lakeside accommodation, as well as premium hospitality and lifestyle offerings including restaurants, breweries, bakeries, artisan retail and food and beverage outlets, and event spaces.

Discussions are underway with accommodation operators and other providers to participate in the redevelopment of the 86-hectare town centre site which features a group of heritage-listed industrial buildings set among limestone lakes.

The Foundations is home to one of Australia’s oldest cement works, which opened 160 years ago and operated until 1991, before being acquired in 2014 and rezoned for residential and commercial use.

Portland, part of the Greater Blue Mountains, is gradually building a reputation as a regional arts and cultural hub with a host of artistic community and private events held at The Foundations.

“Drawing on a unique industrial heritage Portland has reinvented itself as a cultural hub, attracting visitors to a busy events calendar, as well as permanent residents seeking a tree-change to more affordable housing in an area of natural beauty,” said The Foundations Portland Director and site owner, Martin O’Connell.

“Having established The Foundations as a feature of Portland, our priority now is to secure visitor accommodation for the lakeside precinct that aligns with our vision for the area.”

The latest plans for Portland align with the NSW Government’s strategy for boosting the visitor economy in the state’s Central West. According to the latest Destination Management Plan for Central West NSW, there will be 5.2 million visitors, 6.3 million overnight stays and visitor spending of $1.35 billion annually by 2024.

“With regional tourism booming and many operators looking to broaden their portfolios into sustain-able regional destinations with consistent visitor flows and value for their investment, we’re confident our proposal will resonate,” O’Connell said.

“The plan for The Foundations also aligns with the work underway to drive the economic transformation of the greater Lithgow area.”

The Foundations Project Lead, Sedrick Dahdah, said the plans will bring new opportunities to the people of the area.

“Our community-centric plan will create new economic opportunities for Portland, attracting visitors and new permanent residents, making best use of the town’s natural and built heritage, and embed-ding it more firmly in a wider regional context,” he said.

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