Greenland's awful Australian run escalates amid sunset clause fears for Sydney's tallest tower apartment buyers

Greenland's awful Australian run escalates amid sunset clause fears for Sydney's tallest tower apartment buyers
Greenland's awful Australian run escalates amid sunset clause fears for Sydney's tallest tower apartment buyers

The deal to build Sydney's tallest residential tower has fallen over after its Chinese developer Greenland and the construction giant Brookfield Multiplex severed its contractual agreement due to commercial differences.

It is understood the construction costs would have made it hard for the project to be profitable for the Chinese developer which has accrued a chequered record in Australia in its brief time in the country. Or as the Australian Financial Review suggested Brookfield Multiplex thought Greenland had been difficult to deal with and there had already been significant delays in what was already an extremely tight program. 

The arrival of the Chinese-based Greenland to Australian shores was heralded by Property Observer an auspicious occasion with their 2013 plans for building Sydney's tallest residential highrise on the former Water Board site in the CBD, but little has gone right for the group ever since.

The overly ambitious Chinese developer were lured to overpay for the CBD site, after abandoning, at the eleventh hour, well advanced plans for a suburban project that would have not given them their desired world beating, global expansion status. Its acquired site was described in 2014 by JBA town planner Clare Swan as a "prominent CBD site that had been left in the ‘too hard’ basket for years." Greenland paid $113 million for the site from Multiplex which was never known having trophy development sites.

Swan noted with a heritage-listed building and an existing 1960s tower on the site, that previous owners couldn’t make a new development stack up, so it remained "stubbornly undeveloped" for nearly a decade.

In a statement the Chinese developer said yesterday it was still committed to the ugly duckling, intent on building the $700 million, 235 metre tower tower, which has seen almost all its apartments sold off the plan through CBRE Residential.

"Brookfield Multiplex and Greenland have had different views on commercial terms in respect to the construction of the Greenland Centre Sydney."

"Despite attempts by both Greenland and Brookfield Multiplex to find an acceptable resolution to those issues we have not been able to make an agreement to solve the contract."

However off the plan buyers dread the looming off the plan sunset settlement clause issues that may arise as the construction of the tower had been indicated by the selling agents to come with a completion date at the end of 2017.

“We will figure out what to do in the coming weeks,” was the best the Greenland spokesperson could advise The Australian.

The proposed Greenland Centre in Sydney is virtually sold out before construction has started.

"Greenland Australia remains committed to delivering the project with early demolition work starting in May."

The tower, at the former Water Board site at 115 Bathurst Street, was Greenland's first project in Australia. 

There are 470 apartments in the tower for which only a lucky eight reportedly remain unsold. 

It was promoted boastfully as Sydney's highest residential block. 


Marketed as 'Like a diamond in the sky' - Sydney's tallest residential tower had prices starting at $528,000.

Set on the former Water Board site, the 115 Bathurst Street and 339 Pitt Street site had stage-one development approval in its purchase for up to 70 levels reaching 235 metres high. 

Beating off Harry Triguboff Meriton's 230-metre tall World Tower, which dates back to 2004, the new tower will, if built, appear considerably taller as it is located further up a ridge than World Tower.

Greenland's project was marketed as having a level 82, but plans actually revealed there were really only ever to be 66 floors.

The developer of Greenland Centre, China’s state-owned Greenland Group, removed all floor references to the number four, because “four” and “death” have a similar look and pronounciation in Mandarin Chinese.

So there’s no level four, 14,  24 or 34. An entire 10 floors between level 39 and 50 don’t exist. And of course no level 54, 64 or 74.

There was also no rooftop garden because they could represent a green hat. “Wearing a green hat” is a term that Chinese use when a woman cheats on her husband.

Greenland Australia's haphazard development path continued recently when it ditched plans this year to build 1500 apartments adjacent to Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse after terminating a $45 million contract with Victoria Racing Club for the site.

Its Leichhardt Green project had to be re-marketed as it was initially sold off the plan without then securing the necessary matching planning approvals.

"Never satisfied, to be stronger; never stopping to be number 1, we always believe that any enterprise that dares to dream and has the ability to realise dreams will undoubtedly create even larger miracles" Yuliang Zhang, chairman and president of Greenland Group maintains.

Mr Zhang even told the Australian media he saw “no ceiling” for the value of its total investment in the domestic market.

But its most humiliating moment came when marketing their Lucent, North Sydney project which saw the group embarrassed with advertisements that suggested they were yet to know Sydney like the back of their hand.

The quickly corrected map selling the location of their Lucent, North Sydney project was embarassingly skewiff.

Click to enlarge

Greenland's awful Australian run escalates amid sunset clause fears for Sydney's tallest tower apartment buyers

It was noted for instance:

  • The North Sydney swimming pool (6) is on the wrong side of the harbour on Pitt Street.
  • Martin Place (22) is at what we know as the Opera House.
  • Getting a drink at the Opera Bar (18) is over on the lower north shore.
  • Luna Park (4) isn't on the harbour anymore, but the MCA (23) is, though across the bridge not far from the relocated The Rocks (20) and Pitt Street Mall (19).
  • Mirvac/Eureka's Greenwood Plaza (11) is on Circular Quay, and no-one ever worked out what 24 onwards were meant to be.

The sales spiel suggested Lucent was perfectly placed to make the most of Sydney's world-famous lifestyle!

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Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

Residential Development Greenland


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