Catholic church, Stockland plan 29-storey Epping retirement village

The Our Lady Help of Christians church at 29 Oxford St, Epping. Stockland and OLHC Church plan to build retirement living and a school in this site. Picture: AAP.

Diversified property heavyweight Stockland has struck up an alliance with the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay that will see the pair build an unconventional high-rise tower combining retirement and aged care facilities in the northern Sydney suburb of Epping.

While high-rise retirement living has long been part of Queensland’s apartment market, the project’s scale and the listed real estate investment trust’s involvement in the Sydney play make it stand out.

The two have lodged plans for a new 29-storey mixed use tower that will be built on the site of the Our Lady Help of Christians Church and school, in the heart of Epping.

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The existing heritage church will be preserved and the new tower will have about 205 retirement apartments and 132 aged- care beds.

A new primary school will also be built as well as an overhauled community and parish building.

Stockland general manager for communities, built form, Ben Cantwell, says Epping is one of Sydney’s fastest growing areas.

Church Epping Stockland

An artist’s impression of the future Our Lady Help of Christians Church at Epping.

“Our development proposal aims to create a multigenerational community that responds to growing population demand in the area,” he said.

The site is also near a station that will be part of the new Metro and the Epping town centre.

Stockland has attempted to include retirement facilities on land next to some shopping centres as it looks to get the best out of existing holdings.

“We know seniors want to be part of a vibrant, thriving community close to public transport, shops, clubs, cafes and restaurants, and we want to provide options for people to remain living in the communities,” Cantwell says.

Stockland has 65 retirement villages nationally, making it a top three retirement living operator. Despite the slowing residential cycle, it is taking a more active stance with mixed use high rise projects.

In June, it lodged plans for a major mixed-use development in North Sydney. Under this scheme, it would redevelop the office complex that houses IBM’s Australian head office.

A lower podium could include office and education tenants with this topped by two towers of luxury apartments, with the skyscrapers to rise 38 storeys and 55 storeys.

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