Sydney developer trumps China for $62m St Leonards site

An artist’s impression of a potential mixed-use development in Sydney’s St Leonards.

A company associated with Sydney developer Greg Gav has splashed out more than $62.5 million on a St Leonards site on the north shore tipped to become one of the suburb’s central hubs.

The Greg Gav-controlled group is understood to have fought off stiff competition from China-backed Anson City Developments for the St Leonards tower that was the last remaining asset within Altis Property Partners’ Real Estate Equity Partnership Fund No 1.

While Gav will control the site, the development contract is likely to go to Fouad Deiri’s private developer Deicorp, which has a track record of working in concert with Gav.

The 1000sqm block has the capacity to become an tower of about 15 storeys with 140 apartments, but planning executives familiar with the area indicate a recent decision means the site could become part of a superblock extending to Pacific Highway.

It redistributes the bulk of the building mass from 100 Christie St to 655-657 Pacific Highway to achieve better separation from The Forum

Under an old plan, density on the strip was oriented towards the back of the block away from the highway, but a new study has shifted density to two adjacent buildings fronting the highway, setting the scene for a potential amalgamation.

Under the plan, 100 Christie St would be amalgamated with the two buildings fronting the highway, giving rise to a 41-storey apartment tower on top of a nine-storey office podium and a smaller, low-rise building at 100 Christie Street fronting a park.

The office building at 100 Christie St in St Leonards.

The office building at 100 Christie St in St Leonards.

“It redistributes the bulk of the building mass from 100 Christie St to 655-657 Pacific Highway to achieve better separation from The Forum,” council planners wrote, noting that it was the preferred of two options for the strip.

“There is also a potential for an architecturally interesting, smaller ‘statement’ building fronting Christie St Reserve, possibly six storeys in height.”

Charter Hall is understood to control two buildings adjacent to the site at 656 and 657 Pacific Highway. The group is tight-lipped on its plans for the holdings, but a spokesman acknowledges it has a track record of collaborative agreements.

The 1000sqm block has the capacity to become an tower of about 15 storeys with 140 apartments

The site is expected to be closely watched within the suburb, which has attracted more than a billion dollars worth of investment from residential developers capitalising on a wealth of B-grade commercial buildings ripe for apartment conversion, near a major railway station.

Mirvac last month indicated that it would press ahead with the second phase of a two-tower development known as St Leonards Square, while offshore-backed developer Loftex is developing a high-rise apartment tower on a block formerly occupied by a string of detached homes on Marshall Avenue.

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.