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    Developers backflip on office building plans to find more Sydney residential space

    Nathan Johnson

    Two commercial office buildings earmarked for development in Sydney could be dropped for more profitable residential versions.

    Developer Mirvac are seeking to swap an office tower for a taller, skinnier residential building at its $400 million Darling Harbour Harbourside Shopping Centre redevelopment, while Lendlease is considering something similar at Barangaroo South across the bay.

    Mirvac recently requested a new Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) from NSW planning for a 166 metres high residential tower which would be situated towards the central northern end of the Harbourside Shopping Centre site and built in lieu of a 45,000sqm office tower previously slated for development.

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    1471848133074.jpgThe tower would be shifted further south away from the Pyrmont Bridge and next to the new 35-storey Sofitel hotel, which has been designed by Francis Jones Morehen Thorp and is under development.

    Above and right: As part of the new proposal (right), Mirvac is seeking to shift the tower further south towards FJMT’s Sofitel Hotel project and change it from a commercial tower to a residential.
    It would also move the tower away from the Pyrmont Bridge as originally planned (above). Images: Fairfax

    Lendlease’s move from office over residential further east at Barangaroo South however is less a backflip as it is a sidestep. The developer is considering taking its low-rise ‘C1’ building, located on Hickson Road behind Rogers Stirk’s three International Towers, back to market for a second time as a residential building, a change from its original pitch as an office complex.

    C1 doesn’t have an architect as of yet and according to Andrew Wilson, managing director of Barangaroo South for Lendlease, its future has not yet been determined.

    "C1 is approved in the concept plan for either commercial or residential use, though no decision has been made on its design or use," he told the Australian Financial Review.

    The news follows a fresh cut of interest rates by the RBA, and at a time when Sydney's auction clearance rate hit its highest level in 14 months.

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    Above: Tzannes Associates’ CLT construction method for the C2 building could be emulated further north for C1.Image: Tzannes

    MORE CLT FOR BARANGAROO

    A positive arising from Lendlease’s sidestep is that the new residential tower could be built using the same timber construction method as its neighbouring C2 building designed by Tzannes Associates.

    Lendlease told the AFR that the given the strong interest it received in the use of Cross Laminated Timber for International House Sydney (C2) it is exploring the feasibility of C1 also being a timber building.

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