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By Jordan Fermanis

The construction of a new development in Darling Harbour known as ‘The Ribbon’ will mean the iconic IMAX cinema which opened in 1996 will close its doors for three years.

The IMAX Darling Harbour boasts as having ‘the largest screen in the world’ but with the new twenty-storey development including a commercial precinct, the screen size will be reduced.

The Ribbon project is being redeveloped by the Melbourne based construction firm Grocon with the backing of Chinese investment company Zhengtang for $700 million.

This latest project is part of a wider trend of redevelopment in the Darling Harbour precinct.

A few months ago City Hub reported on Mirvac’s redevelopment of the Harbourside Shopping Centre to make way for a 35 storey office block.

As well as the Mirvac redevelopment; Darling Square and the International Convention Centre are also part of the Cockle Bay ‘upgrade’.

Elizabeth Elenius of the Pyrmont Action Group is despondent, lamenting the ‘overdevelopment’ of an area once set aside as the “people’s place.”

“Darling Harbour is ruined, it’s no longer the people’s place. It’s just another development.”

“Darling Harbour is now so awful. More high rise along Cockle Bay, that little bit of water has become the black lagoon, it’ll never get any sun, it will never sparkle and shine because it is walled in on all sides,” Ms Elenius said.

Ms Elenius told City Hub that development in Darling Harbour moves along unchecked, with little regard for community concerns. Darling Harbour as an entity is owned by the NSW government, which renders local government powerless to respond to the community.

“Local government has no power over Darling Harbour at all. It’s a separate little enclave.”

“The Darling Habour redevelopment came as a bolt from the blue and we didn’t know about it until it was a fait accompli.”

The IMAX will close from September 25 and will not reopen until 2019.