Sydney Tower as of 2009
|Alternative names||Sydney Tower, AMP Tower, Westfield Tower, Westfield Centrepoint Tower, Centrepoint Tower|
|Type||Observation and communications tower|
|Antenna spire||309 m (1,014 ft)|
|Top floor||260 m (853 ft) for Sydney Tower Skywalk|
|Design and construction|
|Owner||Westfield, Operated By Trippas White Group and The Merlin Entertainments Group|
|Architect||Donald Crone and Associates|
Sydney Tower is Sydney's tallest free-standing structure, and the second tallest in Australia (with the Q1 building on the Gold Coast being the tallest). It is also the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere (after Auckland's Sky Tower, though Sydney Tower Eye's main observation deck is almost 50 m (164 ft) higher than that of Auckland's Sky Tower). The name Sydney Tower has become common in daily usage, however the tower is also known as the Sydney Tower Eye, AMP Tower, Westfield Centrepoint Tower, Centrepoint Tower or just Centrepoint. The Sydney Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.
The tower stands 309 m (1,014 ft) above the Sydney central business district (CBD), located on Market Street, between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets. It is accessible from the Pitt Street Mall, and sits upon the newly refurbished Westfield Sydney (formerly centrepoint arcade). The tower is open to the public, and is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the city, being visible from a number of vantage points throughout town and from adjoining suburbs.
While the shopping centre at the base of the tower is run by the Westfield Group, the tower itself is occupied by Trippas White Group, which owns and operates Sydney Tower Dining, and Merlin Entertainments, which owns and operates the Sydney Tower Eye and Oztrek.
Plans for Sydney Tower were unveiled in March 1968. Construction of the office building commenced in 1970, and tower construction began in 1975. Prior to construction of the tower, the height limit in Sydney had been set at 279 m (915 ft), to allow for safe overflights by flying boats.
Public access to the tower began in August 1981. The total cost of construction was A$36 million. In 1998, the addition of a lightning rod to the top of spire extended the tower's overall height to 309 m (1,014 ft), which is 327 m (1,073 ft) above sea level.
While AMP managed the Centrepoint shopping centre, the tower was officially referred to as "AMP Tower". After the Westfield Group took over ownership of Centrepoint in December 2001, the name was changed to Sydney Tower.
In 2009, the base building was closed and stripped for a major refurbishment. This involved the connection of the shopping centre to other arcades and a complete upgrade of all the sites. The shopping centre was progressively reopened from 2010 and was renamed Westfield Sydney. On 25–26 June 2011 the "AMP" banner was removed from the tower and replaced by a large illuminated "Westfield" logo. This was achieved by helicopter after two previous attempts on 22 May and 12 June were aborted due to bad weather.
Four sections of the tower are open to public, three being occupied by Sydney Tower Dining. 360 Bar and Dining, which offers revolving views of the Sydney skyline, is located on level one of the Sydney Tower. Sydney Tower Buffet, a contemporary self-select restaurant, is located on the tower's second level. Sky Venue, located on level three, is the highest event space in the Southern Hemisphere, and can cater for cocktail functions for 200 people and 170 sit-down guests.
The observation deck, currently called the Sydney Tower Eye, is located on level four of Sydney Tower. To access this level, visitors can buy a pass from the operating company or at the gate. The pass allows access to other Sydney attractions including Wild Life Sydney and the Sydney Aquarium. The Sydney Tower Eye is located 250 m (820 ft) above ground level. It has a fully enclosed viewing platform featuring 360-degree views of the city and surrounding areas. This floor also houses a small gift shop, multilingual touchscreens and a readout that displays data about the wind speed, direction, sway amplitude, and other statistics of the tower. On 23 September 2011, a 4D cinema was opened on the observation deck, playing a film with footage from various locations in Sydney. The theatre is the first of its kind in Australia; in-theatre effects include wind, bubbles, and fire.
Skywalk is an open-air, glass-floored platform encircling the Sydney Tower Eye at a height of 268 m (879 ft) above ground level. The moving viewing platform extends over the edge of the main structure of the deck. It was opened on 18 October 2005, cost A$3.75 million to construct, took four years to design and two months to build. This platform is only accessible as part of planned and booked tours.
The tower has a maximum capacity of 960 people. Travel from the ground to the tower is via three high speed double-deck lifts that reach the observation deck in approximately 40 seconds if on maximum speed, which depends on wind conditions at the time.
Cultural events 
Leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the tower was decorated with sculptures of athletes (an athlete rising from starting blocks, a gymnast performing a handstand, and a wheelchair basketball player passing the ball) which were positioned above the main body of the tower and in some cases overhung the edges. These sculptures were removed in 2003 and relocated to Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush. The figures were placed atop the tower using an S-64 Aircrane heavy lift helicopter known as "Elvis".
On several occasions, the tower has been used to launch fireworks or it has been illuminated with coloured lights as part of various celebrations in Sydney, such as New Year's Eve or during the Olympics in 2000.
Each year the Sydney Tower Run-up comprises the challenge of running up 1,504 stairs from Pitt Street Mall to the Observation Deck. The event is to raise money for the Cancer Council, and the two winners become eligible to compete in the Empire State Building Run-up. However, the event was cancelled in both years 2011 and 2012.
In popular culture 
- In the film Mission: Impossible 2, the tower is seen in several stunning shots. It is usually shown whenever the CBD of Sydney appears.
- In the 2005 Hallmark Channel film Supernova, the tower is destroyed by meteors flying from a supernova.
- The tower is featured in the 1995 film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, where a CGI simulation is used as a weapon by the main villain Ivan Ooze in the climatic battle before it is rebuilt.
- In the last Japanese Godzilla film, Godzilla: Final Wars, the tower is destroyed when the alien antagonists teleport Zilla (the monster from the late 1990s American remake starring Matthew Broderick) into the city. Zilla is later defeated by the real Godzilla, destroying the Sydney Opera House in the process.
See also 
- Kevin Pilley (13 November 2008). "Q1". The Sydney Morning Herald: Travel (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- "Q1 Tower". SkyscraperPage. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
- "The World Federation of Great Towers: Sydney Tower". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Sydney Architecture". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Centrepoint Tower". Sydney Architecture. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
- "Sydney Tower Official Site". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Sydney Showcase". Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Home". Trippas White Group. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- Campion, Vikki (8 September 2011). "UK firm Merlin Entertainment Group eyeing off Sydney Tower for a makeover". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Sydney Tower Fact Sheet" (PDF). Internet Archive Wayback Machine. 29 August 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- Sydney Tower (from the Sydney Tower/Oztrek website. Accessed 21 June 2008.)[dead link]
- Westfield Group Limited. Westfield Centrepoint (from the Westfield Group website. Accessed on 2 March 2008.)
- Hardie, Giles (18 August 2011). "EyePhoney: Sydney Tower goes over the top". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "360 Bar and Dining". Trippas White Group. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Sydney Tower Buffet". Trippas White Group. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Sky Venue". Trippas White Group. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Ticket Prices". Sydney Tower Eye. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Observation Deck". Sydney Tower Eye. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "4D Cinema". Sydney Tower Eye. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Sydney Tower Eye". Sydney.com. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- "Skywalk". Sydney Tower Eye. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Sydney Skywalk opens 880 feet up on tower". The Free Lance-Star. 29 October 2005. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "The Sydney Tower". Destination NSW. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "New home for athletes of steel". Australian Government: Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 14 October 2006.
- Sydney Tower Run Up (from the 'Supersprint' website)
- "Results". Stair Climbing Australia. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- "Sydney Tower Run-up 2012 is cancelled.". Stair Climbing Australia. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
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