Plans for the future

Susan Wellings February 25, 2012

Jacinta Lai was able to snap up a unit off the plan in Macquarie Central.

Jacinta Lai was able to snap up a unit off the plan in Macquarie Central.

Units are in short supply, but there are quality projects in the offing.

There's a multitude of plans for new apartment buildings being unveiled for this year and a variety of new stages in developments now being built.

Yet despite Sydney apartment construction rising slightly in the the past year - recent ABS data shows apartment approvals jumped 7.4 per cent in 2011 - there's still a massive shortfall. There are simply not enough new developments to accommodate the up to 80,000 people moving to Sydney each year, given that just 23,051 new dwellings were built in 2011 (see Weekly Snapshot, Domain Houses).

''There's an enormous shortfall,'' says the chief executive of Urban Taskforce Australia, Chris Johnson. ''Because of the current economic climate and the uncertainty of planning, the development industry is being very cautious in relation to building new apartments, particularly within the Sydney metropolitan area. There'll be a big problem down the track.''

But 2012 still offers variety.

City

Two 16- to 17-storey towers are set to be built above a two- and three-level podium in the centre of Haymarket. Called The Quay, the $104 million development from Metro Plaza Central will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, some with studies and all with balconies and louvres.

''It's a premium location and a very rare site right in the heart of Chinatown,'' says David Milton from CBRE.

Work is finally starting on the long-vacant site at 141 Elizabeth Street, overlooking Hyde Park, set to house the 17-level, 19-apartment luxury building eliza. Every floor will have a different shape and each apartment will be bespoke. ''Eliza will be a world-class apartment building unlike anything ever built in Sydney,'' says the director of Ceerose, Edward Doueihi.

There will be 10 half-floor apartments with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a study, from $1.7 million, and eight four-bedroom apartments, each taking up an entire floor, from $4 million. The two-level penthouse will have its own infinity-edge pool.

With excavation work having begun at the infill site at 267 Sussex Street, only five of the 23 apartments being built at the 13-storey glass-walled tower Jade remain. The apartments all have full-height glass in all the living areas. Two-bedroom apartments (80 sq m) are from $780,000, while the 154 sq m penthouse is for sale off the plan at $1.7 million. ''The prospect of Manhattan-style accommodation in this vibrant part of the Sydney CBD has been a lure for purchasers,'' says the development manager of Ceerose, Daniel McNamara.

In Victoria Park at Waterloo, plans have been drawn up for a new 22-level building, Ruby, designed by architect POPOVbass. ''It's set to be the signature development within Victoria Park,'' Milton says.

Close by will be Meriton's EON, with a range of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments across six buildings. Prices will range from $420,000 to $975,000.

A new release of apartments at Becton's Divercity is set for March 17, comprising 112 SJB-designed one- and two-bed apartments. Prices for one-bedders (from 62 sq m) will start at $425,000 and two-bedders (from 87 sq m) at $599,000.

East

The $100 million-plus conversion of the Old Swiss Grand at Bondi Beach, billed as the most prestigious site on Campbell Parade, is set to go ahead after numerous delays. Under the moniker Pacific Bondi Beach, it's set to house 95 apartments, a 69-apartment hotel and a two-level retail and restaurant precinct.

''It's the last development site in Bondi Beach and the largest,'' says co-owner and developer Allen Linz. ''We don't know of any comparable type of development that has such a mix of development in such a prime location, with facilities like valet parking and concierge for residents, hotel guests and restaurant diners.''

The apartments, with a choice of interiors designed by architectural firms including SJB Architects, PTW and Koichi Takada, will start about $500,000 for 45 sq m studios up to an expected $15 million for a 300 sq m, three-bedroom penthouse with lofty domed ceilings. They'll go on sale off the plan in three to four months, through Justin Brown of CBRE.

Close by, work has also now started on Boheme, the Hall Street development of 44 apartments and 113 serviced apartments on the site of the old Hakoah Club. Designed by Bates Smart Architects, there are five levels of horizontal bands of glass - inspired by art deco-era buildings - above the lower podium retail levels.

Further south, there are 20 apartments left in Solis, the first release at Little Bay Cove - both one-bedroom (50 sq m) and one-plus-study (60 sq m) apartments, starting from $480,000.

Another release is scheduled to take place in April, offering one-, two- and three-bedders. Prices and sizes have yet to be set.

Further in, at Potts Point, there's Manor, with new one- and two-bedroom apartments priced from $495,000 and being sold in the set-to-be renovated Mansions Hotel. See manorpottspoint.com.au.

Inner west

A boutique block of only 20 one- and two-bedroom apartments, Nuovo, is just being finished in Five Dock, close to the heart of the village. With the original developer unable to complete the building three years ago, Ernst & Young has now stepped in to oversee the final stages and sales process.

''It's a bit of a unique system: we're inviting people to make an offer on what they feel the apartments are worth based on what else there is in the neighbourhood,'' says a sales agent for CBRE, Lawton Cooper. ''The one-beds will probably be in the early $400,000s and the two-beds over $550,000.'' A display apartment will open in two weeks.

Another 300 apartments are set to be put up for sale off the plan in Erskineville, in the new building Erko. Designed by SJB, the one-, one-plus-study, two- and three-bedroom units will be released in stages in the second quarter of this year. There are also a selection of two- and three-bedroom terraces. Prices have yet to be set.

North shore

One of the few new developments on the lower north shore qualifying for the stamp duty concession, the 131-apartment development Auralia in Greenwich will be launched next month, with a selection of one-bedroom and one-plus-study units, all with parking, to be sold off the plan from $510,000.

Set in six buildings of six levels each, they've been designed by architectural firm Marchese Partners and developed by the Oatley family of Hamilton Island fame. ''If you're looking for a one-bed or one-bed-and-study that isn't in a high-rise, then this is quite rare,'' says the development manager, Robert Bevan.

Right in Hunters Hill Village, a new development of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments is planned, called Hunters Hill Apartments. With good district and city views, they've been designed for owner-occupiers in mind, with quality finishes including stone floors.

In Mosman village, there's another set of new apartments due to be built, Marque. They're said to be designed to have stunning views out to the city and harbour.

Meanwhile, at the Toga Group's 630-unit, five-tower development Macquarie Central adjoining Macquarie University, the railway and shopping centre, stage two is set to be released early next month after the first release sold out within weeks late last year.

''It's a very strong and high-rental-demand area and is considered one of Sydney's best growth areas,'' says CBRE's David Milton.

Apartment purchase adds up for accounting student

University student Jacinta Lai (pictured) was keen to live in a new apartment and, with a little help from her parents, was one of the first to snap up a unit off the plan in Macquarie Central.

''A lot of apartments around Macquarie Park aren't very modern,'' says Lai, 21, who's in her final year of a degree in accounting at The University of Sydney.

''So I saw this development as a great opportunity to buy something new.'' Lai decided on a one-bedroom unit on the seventh floor for $495,000, while a friend who came to the opening with her also put his name down to buy one in the second release.

''It's so light and bright and everything flows nicely on the plans,'' Lai says. ''I think I'll be more than happy there when it's been built and it's time to move in.''

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