The NSW government has given the green light to the Macquarie Group's plan to build two towers over an underground metro station at Sydney's Martin Place.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Wednesday that plans for a 39-storey office tower above the station's northern entrance and a 29-storey tower above the southern entrance had been approved.
"The Martin Place development is a win for the community and a win for taxpayers, with Macquarie Group helping pay for the metro station build as part of the deal," Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.
Construction of the towers will take place concurrently with that of the new Martin Place station and is due to be finished by the time the metro opens in 2024.
Planning minister Rob Stokes said the towers underwent a "rigorous assessment by the department and an independent design review panel".
It follows ongoing controversy over a decision to allow one of the towers to be set back just eight metres from Martin Place rather than 25 metres.
This control was approved through a site-specific amendment to the Sydney Local Environmental Plan and an amended development application in 2018.
City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the "rubber stamped proposal threatens the significant heritage values of Martin Place".
"By green-lighting the encroachment, the minister has cast aside our shared vision for Martin Place - as a pedestrian-focused civic space at the heart of the city - and undermined decades of disciplined decision-making by local and state government and business leaders," Ms Moore said in a statement.
"The result will block views to the GPO clock tower and reduce sunlight, daylight and wind protection to pedestrians in Martin Place and the surrounding streets, and overshadow the MLC forecourt."
Buildings such as the Westin Hotel at the GPO, 5 Martin Place and the state government's headquarters at 52 Martin Place have all abided by the 25 metre setback since it was introduced more than 25 years ago, Ms Moore said.
Planning NSW's assessment of the proposal in July identified buildings including the Reserve Bank of Australia building, 20 Martin Place and 60 Martin Place as all having tower setbacks of less than 25 metres.
A spokeswoman for Planning NSW said the department is satisfied that street frontage and shadowing issues have been addressed through comprehensive assessment of approvals for the site.
"The detailed designs approved today addressed the design guidelines with an appropriate response to the street frontage and further reducing shadow impact to Hyde Park and Martin Place through better design," the spokeswoman said in a statement.
Australian Associated Press