Sirius building’s future still unclear at The Rocks

The Sirius tower in The Rocks. Pic: John Appleyard

Months after the close of tenders for the $500 million redevelopment of Sydney’s controversial Sirius building, the NSW Coalition government is no closer to announcing the winning bidder to redevelop the prized apartment tower on one of Sydney’s best sites.

Just two short-listed developers remain in the running, the Chinese-backed Aoyuan International and a Vietnamese developer known as JD Capital.

The developer of the troubled Opal Tower at Sydney’s Homebush pulled out of its bid to win the lucrative rights to redevelop the high-profile Sirius building in Sydney’s Rocks district following a lobbying effort by powerful NSW councillors and MPs back in January.

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Ecove, which was bidding with Aoyuan International, declined to discuss the reasons behind its decision at that stage.

However, it is understood a third developer to make the exclusive short list — Sydney real estate mogul Danny Avidan, who had assembled a team of architects including the well-regarded Cox Architects and was being guided by the late former director of the Art Gallery Edmund Capon — has been dropped from the bid.

Senior sources said that after making the critical short list, Mr Avidan was told that his bid was non-compliant but no explanation was given by Property NSW, which is running the tender, sources said. Mr Avidan declined to comment to The Australian last night. He was originally one of three short-listed tenderers selected out of a field of more than 50 local and international bidders.

A Property NSW spokesman said yesterday the government continued to evaluate proposals for the Sirius site.

“Two consortia have moved through to the final stage of the tender process. We have notified the unsuccessful proponents and we continue to evaluate proposals for the remaining short-listed proponents. A successful proponent is expected in the coming months,” the spokesman said.

Developed in the late 1970s, the Sirius building is a prominent example of Brutalist architecture and was once used to accommodate housing commission tenants who were last year forced to vacate the apartment tower.

Avidan, a former rag-trader, had also proposed a string of galleries and bars along Cumberland Street and a glass lift for public access down to George Street at his own cost, sources have said.

As part of his deal Mr Avidan had also proposed an art gallery which would have been donated to the nearby Museum of Contemporary Art at his own cost, according to sources.

The gallery was proposed by the late Capon.

Avidan had also envisaged a large viewing space cut through the building, allowing views to the Opera House from the Harbour Bridge.

The apartment selling agents were expected to be CBRE, but they declined to comment. Cox Architects director Nick Tyrrell also declined to comment.

It is understood Avidan had planned about 60 apartments which would have been priced at more than $60,000 per square metre. Sub-penthouses would have been priced at more than $10 million while the penthouse would have hit the market at about $15m.

Some of the apartments featured rooftop garden terraces.

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