Owners of Glenview Court, known as one of Sydney’s ugliest buildings, have finally agreed on a $20 million facelift to the seven-level eyesore structure near Tamarama Beach. Situated in one of Sydney’s most scenic locations, the building is expected to create a redevelopment template for hundreds of similarly decrepit apartment blocks around the city.
Following a four-year battle, the owners of the units at Glenview Court have reached an agreement to give it a Tobias Partners-designed upgrade, which is being financed by adding an extra level on top of the building on Illawong Avenue, creating two penthouses with views over the ocean, and selling them for $10 million each.
Christine Smetsers, the chair of the owners’ corporation, hopes that the facelift project will provide a template for other old buildings that need a lot of work but whose owners cannot afford to spend their own money on the improvement.
While the building was originally started off by the late Harry Seidler it was finished by Rene Rivkin’s developer father Walter and, according to Seidler's widow Penelope Seidler, "bears absolutely no relation'' to his original concept.
In an article published by News Corp back in July 2012, she said she didn't want the Seidler name associated with the building in any way.
"We don't want to be labelled as the architects of this building either as it exists or the projected plans,'' she said.
Before and After: Glenview Court as it is now and what it will look like once the Tobias Partners design is realised. Image: Domain
Rivkin's building hit a major roadblock five years ago when it was served with numerous fire orders, and was discovered to be riddled with concrete cancer.
Faced with a bill of over $10 million dollars to complete all the necessary works, with a special levy of around $100,000 each, the owners decided to fund the redevelopment project by building penthouses atop the block and selling them off.
For the redevelopment, award-winning architect Nick Tobias proposed to put a new facade with balconies onto the oceanside aspect of the apartments, add private gardens to the back and install two new lifts, using Seidler’s original drawings as inspiration. The plan also included creating two levels of car parking by digging down into the yellow Sydney sandstone beneath and landscaping the whole area in partnership with Aspect Studios.
The project will be financed by adding an extra level on top of the building, creating two penthouses with views over the ocean, and selling them for $10 million each. Image: Tobias Partners
While the Development Application was approved by the NSW Joint Regional Planning Panel and eventually by Waverley Council, objections from a few residents blocked the project for the next four years. Recently, 80 per cent of the residents voted for the milestone project to go ahead.
The principal of Block Strata Lawyers Michael Teys who has been advising the building’s executive committee, explained that the redevelopment proposal was considered as an important case study by the NSW government, when setting the 75 per cent threshold on new redevelopment proposals for aging strata buildings for the strata law changes due to come in later this year.
Photography: Tobias Partners/Domain