Apartment bonanza predicted for North Sydney


Several leading Sydney agents reckon the next big apartment precinct to take off will be North Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw

Long overlooked as a key apartment hub, several leading Sydney agents reckon the next big precinct to take off will be North Sydney, with developers eyeing opportunities and fine­-tuning plans to build a string of major apartment towers.

Melbourne-based Cbus Property is probably the most advanced, partnering with Neil Werrett’s Galileo to purchase a 4000sq m amalgamation of seven residential sites on East Walker St, North Sydney.

The site has been going through the planning process since March 2019, finally gaining approval from the Sydney North Planning Panel two years later.

It is located within North Sydney Council’s Ward Street Precinct, a council-led masterplan initiative intended to stimulate the northern end of North Sydney’s CBD and create a planning framework to optimise development opportunities emerging from the Victoria Cross Metro station, which opens in 2024.

“The intention is to develop high-end owner-occupier residences in this fabulous location with views across the eastern side of Sydney Harbour and northern Sydney,” Cbus Property chief executive Adrian Pozzo said.

Galileo CEO Neil Werrett said the site offered unrivalled “front row” views to Sydney’s CBD, Opera House and Harbour Bridge and could not be built out.

FJMT Studio has been appointed to design the project.

The firm has previously worked with Galileo on the recently completed King & Phillip project and with Cbus Property on 111 Castlereagh, which is under construction. A planning application is yet to be lodged, but pending approval, demolition and excavation are expected next year, with construction anticipated to commence in 2023 and completion in 2026.

Cbus and Galileo recently purchased the 175 Walker St site for $150m from property developer Avenor, which had spent years amalgamating the site.

Artist's impression of the view from Aquaand’s Aura development in North Sydney

An artist’s impression of the view from Blue at Lavender Bay by Aqualand in Milsons Point.

Meanwhile, Chinese developer Aqualand is also intent on developing in North Sydney, with plans for a 395-unit tower as well as significant retail on its 168 Walker St site. Woods Bagot will design the project, with interiors by Hecker Guthrie.

“Leveraging off the success of Blue, we are raising the bar to North Sydney to bring to market a building and residences that have never been offered before,” Aqualand head of sales and marketing Alex Adams said.

Sources said Aqualand might be interested in The Rydges North Sydney Hotel, which was recently listed for sale, given it owns a building nearby. The 167-room hotel fronting 54 McLaren St is being sold by EVT and expected to bring $80m to $100m.

CBRE Hotels’ Wayne Bunz and Michael Simpson have been appointed to sell the hotel, with buyers able to acquire the property with vacant possession or retain Rydges under a long-term management agreement.

The hotel occupies a significant 2549sq m freehold site in North Sydney, one of the largest corporate catchments in Australia.

CBRE Hotels managing director Michael Simpson said the hotel offered flexibility for an investor.

“It can be renovated and repositioned to take advantage of the domestic tourism recovery,” he said.

“It is also perfectly positioned to be transformed into a luxury residential apartment tower, given the site’s highly flexible zoning, the height precedents in the immediate area and the proximity to retail and transport amenities.”

Mr Simpson said North Sydney’s continued growth would be supported by enhanced connectivity to the Sydney CBD by the Sydney Metro development, with the commute from Victoria Cross Station in North Sydney to Barangaroo in Sydney’s CBD just three minutes.

Mr Simpson said North Sydney Council had been implementing a long-term strategy for the evolution of the North Sydney CBD via the Ward Street Masterplan.

Expressions of interest close October 14.