Friday, 12 July 2013

Sydney NSW The future is up: agents tip residential boom in city centre

The future is up: agents tip residential boom in city centre


Stephen Nicholls, Carolyn Cummins, Toby Johnstone

A new high-rise glass tower of apartments opposite Myer could herald the start of a pedestrian-friendly George Street.
That's the view of the agent charged with selling the 199 units in the 38-storey block if it wins planning approval.
Plans have been lodged with the City of Sydney for a $110 million tower, which includes six floors of retail at 383 George Street and 46-48 York Street.
Proposed retail shop on George Street. Shopping: The proposed six-floor retail area at 383 George Street. Photo: Supplied
''It will be fabulous,'' said Peter Chittenden of Colliers Residential. ''In time, we're going to see more and more of the city reactivating … there's certainly more demand for residential right now.''
He said the John Wardle Architects design had the ''wow factor'', and predicted more commercial buildings ''that aren't offering what the business community wants'' could be converted to residential.
Mr Chittenden said most of the apartments in the block would be one or two-bedroom, targeting business people from overseas or interstate and investors. But 20 three-bedroom apartments were also planned.
''We haven't seen anything residential in this mid-town area - it's either been in the northern part of the CBD or by the park,'' he said.
Allan Fife, the chief investment officer of Fife Capital, which owns the site, said planning approval had already been given for the retail component and council was being ''very positive'' about the residential plans. He said more apartments in the CBD were inevitable.
''The days of having precinct cities is shifting … I think Melbourne's the better for having a reasonable residential component in the city,'' Mr Fife said.
The property had been under a lease campaign for the offices but it is believed the floor plates of about 1000 square metres were deemed too small for a large company.
Ray White Commercial director John Skufris said converting commercial buildings to residential had become more profitable due to demand from foreign buyers.
''The potential clientele for residential apartments in the CBD goes well beyond Sydney dwellers,'' he said. ''If the properties are built new … there is greater scope to attract international and in particular Asian buyers.''
Mr Skufris said there were several buildings earmarked for conversion to residential following the success of other residential projects in the CBD.
''The Residence on College Street and the new apartments on Liverpool Street have been well received and part of the reason is unprecedented city views.''
Eliza in Elizabeth Street, with 19 apartments, will have similar views when complete.
And a block called the Castlereagh, to be built on the corner of Bathurst and Castlereagh Streets, will contain 50 apartments.
Mr Skufris said while a Manhattan-isation of the city was a long way off, there was growing demand for housing in the centre.
''Many people want to work close to where they live,'' he said. ''People don't want to drive an hour and a half every day.''

On the way in the city

George Street tower: 199 units
The Eliza: 19 units
The Castlereagh: 50 units
Barrangaroo south: 159 units
Goldfields House: 197 units
Barrangaroo casino: 80 units (if approved)
161-163 Clarence Street: 220 units