James Packer’s injection of $10 million to build a college in Penrith to train 1250 staff for his new Crown Sydney Hotel Resort at Barangaroo is one of many new ventures in the area.

Known as the gateway to the Blue Mountains, Penrith is emerging from the shadows of its bigger peer, Parramatta, with a vengeance.

Activity has included a $28 million capital placement from the federal government and the University of Western Sydney, and the purchase in 2012 of the Homemaker Centre by retailer Gerry Harvey for about $50 million.

One of the biggest centres in the area is the Penrith Panthers Leagues Club, which has undergone an upgrade in the past few years.

Woolworths’ hardware arm, Masters, also has a development application for a large site, as has the new Nepean Hospital medical centre.

Part of the development is a new Quest serviced-apartment project based at Kingswood of about 85 dwellings in studio and one-, two- or three-bedroom options.

Quest chief executive Paul Constantinou said the area was perfect for the group’s growth platform. ”We earmarked these more regional areas as the ones that will provide the growth for our properties,” he said.

”It is an expanding business district, with the central business district of Penrith as well as the burgeoning business parks at Erskine Park and the surrounding area.” Mr Constantinou said the development of the infrastructure and access to the Blue Mountains also made the area the right choice for the new site.

Quest recently announced plans to build 10 new properties across NSW by 2014, massively increasing the available accommodation in key business markets for the state’s growing number of extended-stay business travellers.

Penrith City Council also has about 60 hectares of land earmarked for redevelopment, and Landcom, Stockland and the NSW government are active in the area.

Last week an expression-of-interest campaign closed for tenders for 10,000 square metres of office space coming out of the Office of State Revenue, for which the Penrith council has made a bid.

Penrith Business Alliance chief executive Bijai Kumar said the area was similar to that of the Macquarie Centre at North Ryde in the 1970s.

He said the injection of capital from the various governments and council ensured that Penrith was a competitive business precinct.

”The next Sydney orbital road and railway will enable industries to access the area and provide the infrastruture for the future,” he said.

”The catalyst for the growth is the 60 hectares of land that will be made available to developers in addition to the public land that we have around the central business district.”

Growth in the surrounding areas will also feed into Penrith, such as the RAAF base at Richmond and the Marsden Park business sector.

PRD Commercial Nationwide director Matthew Neale said investors were attuned to the area now that the commercial sector was providing appropriate growth in capital values.

”There are a lot of development applications before the Penrith council, and when they get approved, the area will be one of the busiest for developers in NSW,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.