Harry Seidler’s only religious building, Bondi’s Yeshiva College, could be the subject of redevelopment in the coming years, after the Independent Planning Commission came to a decision that the synagogue should not be heritage listed.

Waverley Council says it will do its utmost to protect the site from redevelopment, despite being owned by a Meriton-controlled entity. The property giant has already proposed to build a 12-storey multi-residential complex on the site in a concept titled “Yeshiva uplift scheme”.

Meriton Managing Director Harry Triguboff’s submissions to the Planning Commission indicate his adulation for the late architect, but believes that his contributions should not constitute heritage listing.

“We did all this so it could be used, and nobody told me it was heritage,” Triguboff writes, referencing the upgrades on the building his company has paid for. 

“I admire (Seidler’s) work, but his involvement cannot constitute heritage listing. Would every building that I have built one day be heritage? We must progress and council’s cannot use heritage to fight a planning outcome they don’t like.”

Seidler’s family have opposed potential development in favour of retaining the building in its current form. Penelope Seidler, the architect’s widow, believes the facility should be utilised as a community centre.

The Planning Commission’s decision has been swayed by the alterations and additions made to the building, which have diminished its heritage value. Triguboff has indicated that he is in no rush to determine the site’s future, which currently provides meals for the homeless via the Our Big Kitchen program. The College was closed in 2022.

Waverley Council has requested Heritage Minister Penny Sharpe issue another interim heritage order for the site, with the previous order expiring in February. The Council is pushing for the College to be placed on the NSW Heritage List, but there is no word on when the site may be assessed.