Harry Triguboff's Meriton buys Lewisham Estates development site for $48.5 million

Harry Triguboff's Meriton buys Lewisham Estates development site for $48.5 million
Jonathan ChancellorDecember 8, 2020

Harry Triguboff’s Meriton has spent $48.5 million to buy the controversial Lewisham Estates development site through Colliers agent Ray Younes.

It’s a lucrative site with the amended potential for between 377 and 430 units given its proximity of the Lewisham railway station, the light rail route due in 2014, bus routes and public Ray Younespedestrian and cycle pathways.

Triguboff has boasted he'd beaten Frasers Property, Toga, Crown Group and Ralan to win the tender. Charlie Demian of the Demian Group paid $8.5 million for the site in 2005.

(Source Marrickville Greens circa 2009)

It was in 2009 when Marrickville Council resolved to prepare a masterplan for the land known as the McGill Street precinct. The initial application was for 524 units in high-rise towers of up to 14 storeys. All were vigourously opposed by the Marrickville Greens, the No Lewisham Towers Residents Action Committee, and the Summer Hill Action group with its Labor Party political context warranting publication of a story on the Crikey website written by Alex Mitchell.

An amended development application was referred by ministerial delegation to the NSW Planning Assessment Commission last September seeking seven buildings between four and 10 storeys, which was approved in March after modifications including seeing its publicly accessible open space being increased from 1,300 square metres to 3,097 square metres.  

Earlier this year the SMH reported the Demian Group was ordered by the Department of Planning to redo the images that were publicly exhibited for the project after questions were raised over their accuracy.

The $150 million project has a maximum 38,896 square metres gross floor area. It will come with two basement levels of car parking, but no supermarket as initially sought. There will be a cafe. The maximum overall floor space ratio will be 3.15:1.

The precinct is bounded by Old Canterbury Road to the east and south, Hawthorne Canal and the Rozelle Goods Line to the west and Longport Street to the north.

The site had been earmarked by the NSW Planning Department as suitable for genuine transport-oriented redevelopment, one of several nodes around the city earmarked for additional density development.

Marrickville Council suggested to the PAC there was a need for all three current applications; 78-90 Old Canterbury Road, Lewisham; the Allied Mills site in the Ashfield LGA; and the Sydney Light Rail Extension, to be assessed in a coordinated manner to realise the cumulative impacts of the developments.

The council also suggested the applicant's environment assessment report commented that the site was not flood prone without any investigation or analysis.

The site is not currently zoned as flood prone land as Council has not undertaken a flood study of the Hawthorn Canal Catchment, but the council seems it “very likely” that the site is at risk of flooding as the Hawthorne Canal runs adjacent to the site west of the railway line.

The initial plans for the Lewisham project raised the ire of the local community during the public consultation period because of its height, its density and the potential impact on local traffic, stemmed around nine buildings of up to 14 storeys. The campaigners at the Marrickville Greens produced an emotive artists' sketch (pictured above) which depicted the scheme when it was envisaged as 14 storeys and supermarket.

Meriton has been long mooted as the buyer of the site at 78-90 Old Canterbury Road, Lewisham, subject to rezoning. Meriton intend to now proceed with securing the final development approvals with the Tony Owen Partners' concept (pictured below) for the 13,000-square-metres former Packsite site. It is likely to market the off the plan apartments in late 2012. 

Council town planners had previously described the initial concept proposal as a "dog of a development" especially as it in an area dominated by single-storey homes.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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