Update on Microsoft’s Mega Mowbray Road Data Centre Lane Cove North

Microsoft is planning a six-storey, $141 million data centre at  706 Mowbray Road Lane Cove North.  The property was acquired for $63m from VIMG (Vic Investments Management Group).

The 1.7ha property is currently a multi-tenanted office warehouse building with three floors of office space, rear warehouse units and undercover and external car parking spaces.  The site is currently known as Media and Technology Park.  If the plans are approved, the existing building will be demolished.


In January 2021, documents were lodged with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment seeking approval of the Data Centre as a state significant development.

The state significant development process enables assessing significant projects at the State level rather than at the local Council level.

The rationale for this approach is that local issues are considered, but broader state significant issues are also taken into account when determining the project’s merit.

Why Is a Data Centre A State Significant Project?

With the absolute rush of people moving to the cloud due to coronavirus, cloud providers are seeing 50-100 per cent capacity spike already and are expecting 100-200 per cent increase in cloud data storage in the near term.

The proposed Data Centre will operate on a 24/7 basis over six (6) levels (including a basement level), comprising 14 data halls, 16 electrical substations, one (1) diesel fuel storage tanks, plant and equipment.

Construction jobs are expected to be in the order of approximately 300, whilst operational jobs would be expected to exceed approximately 50 future staff (which includes maintenance contractors).

The Lane Cove site is about 500m from the large AirTrunk Data Centre in the Lane Cove Business Park.

Microsoft is Seeking a Building Height Variation

The current planning instrument sets a maximum building height of approximately 18 m pursuant to LCLEP2009.  The developers seek a variation to the planning instrument to permit them to construct a building that will be approximately 38 m high.

An initial meeting was held to discuss the proposal with Lane Cove Council.

The initial documents lodged to support the development referred to possible noise mitigation measures to address noise impacts from operating plants and equipment.  The other side of Mowbray Road is residential and in the Willoughby City Council Area.

Lane Cove Council/Willoughby Council’s Response to Documentation

As the construction of the Data Centre will impact residents in both the Lane Cove Council Area and Willoughby Council Area, both councils were invited to comment on the development.

Lane Cove Council 

Lane Cove Council noted the Data Centre would be beneficial to the local economy. The proposed high-tech industry would provide employment opportunities to the Lane Cove North area. The use as a Data Centre is permitted within the IN2 zone.

Lane Cove Council further noted the maximum building height was 38m. This development would significantly breach the 18m height control for the site under the Lane Cove LEP 2009.

Lane Cove Council suggested that this non-compliance should be justified as part of a future Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). They also recommended including a comprehensive character statement as part of the future EIS. The character statement should detail the existing character of surrounding built structures, setbacks and envelopes along Mowbray Road. The character statement should provide a compelling argument and justify that the proposed development is sympathetic and in keeping with the varied and transitioning character of the area.

The site adjoins land zoned Environmental Conservation (E2). It’s not known if any vegetation is proposed to be removed as part of the development. However, the future EIS documentation should include a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report and Flora and Fauna Study.

Lane Cove Council also noted the Lane Cove Tunnel runs below the site. lt is understood that excavation is proposed to accommodate loading, water and fuel tank storage. Consultation should be undertaken with Transurban to confirm if any works are within the ‘zone of influence’ and what restrictions may apply.

The Development is located next to Possums Corner Childcare.  Possums’ Corner Child Care Centre is a community-run not-for-profit child care centre, caring for children from 2 months of age up to preschool.   Lane Cove Council noted that Possums Corner Child Care has a parking arrangement whereby parents can use the building’s parking area for staff parking, and parent pick up and drop off.  Without access to this parking area, Possums Corner Child Care has no other close by parking options. Lane Cove Council requested consultation with Possums Corner Child Care Centre.

Possum Corners Child Care Centre

Willoughby City Council

Willoughby City Council noted that based on the preliminary architectural plans, it is anticipated that there would be approximately 1,800 tonnes (or 1,950 kl) of diesel fuel stored on-site.   The Diesel would be used to fuel generators if there was a power cut to the site.

Because of the surrounding land uses and the fact that the site is in a bushfire prone area, Council noted its concerns regarding the intended storage of fuel and requested that alternative energy sources to diesel fuel be investigated, such as solar power and battery storage options.


The EPA requested further information on the total volume of Diesel to be held on-site and the capacity of the tanks they will be installing.

Transport for NSW

Transport for NSW called for the following to be included in the transport and traffic impact study:

  • Daily and peak traffic movements likely to be generated by the development and the impact on nearby intersections and the need/associated funding for upgrading or road improvements works (if required).  The key intersection to model is the Epping Road/Mowbray Road intersection;
  • Assessment of all vehicular traffic routes and intersections for access to and from the property;
  • Current traffic counts for all the traffic routes and intersections and the anticipated additional vehicular traffic generated at both the construction and operational stages;
  • Proposed number of car park spacing and compliance with the appropriate codes;
  • Details of the proposed accesses and the parking provisions associated with the development (including turning paths, sight difference etc.); and
  • Other standard requirements for a traffic impact study.

What is the Next Step?

An Environmental Impact Statement is required.  Once that has been submitted, the public will be able to submit their comments on the proposal.

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