The site is part of the Capitol Theatre redevelopment precinct within the Haymarket, Sydney. Bounded by George, Campbell, Hay St and the Capitol Theatre buliding, it includes the former Parker St, the Watkins Terrace group of buildings (730-742 George St), consisting of 5 shops (including the Parker St frontages), the former Palace Hotel and a former bank.
Redevelopment of the site involved the demolition of the buildings toward Parker St and all but 2 bays of 732-738 George St. The 'flanks' ie. No 730, and No 742 George St remained mostly intact. A new 5 storey building was constructed within this space, and a barrel vaulted galleria enclosed Parker St between the Capitol building and the Watkins Terrace block. The facades in George, Hay and Campbell Streets were retained. In addition, a substantial excavation for the five storey underground car-park was completed, extending eastward to the telecom tunnel in Parker St .
These works also required archaeological study of the historic site.The area has been continuously occupied by Europeans since the early months of 1788. The site was literally THE haymarket. This occupation can be divided into 8 distinct historical and occupational phases.
Phase 1: Pre 1788 topography and Aboriginal occupation.
Phase 2: The Brickfields 1788-1829
Phase 3: The Cattle Market 1829-1833
Phase 4: The Hay and Corn Market & Paddys Market 1834-1854
Phase 5: General Fruit & Vegetable Market & Paddys Market 1854-1875
Phase 6: The Watkins and Parker Lane Buildings 1876-1914
Phase 7: Parker Lane widening & New Belmore Markets 1892-1894
Phase 8: Structural Alterations to the Watkins & Parker Street Building 1914/15-1993
Phase 9: The Capitol Square redevelopment, commencing 1997.
Photograph courtesy of The Australian Museum showing all the busy horse-drawn city traffic on George St with the “Watkins Terrace” buildings (Capitol Square) on the left. Note the cart watering the unsealed roadway.