Aqualand officially opens landmark North Sydney apartment development, AURA by Aqualand

Aqualand Managing Director Jin Lin said the project’s completion in time for Aqualand’s tenth anniversary was fortuitous as it perfectly showcases what Aqualand has come to stand for over the last decade.
Aqualand officially opens landmark North Sydney apartment development, AURA by Aqualand
Joel Robinson June 27, 2024CONSTRUCTION COMPLETION

Leading Australian integrated property development group, Aqualand, has today formally opened its greatly anticipated AURA by Aqualand mixed-use precinct.

Project delivery partners, stakeholders, staff and special guests joined the Mayor of North Sydney, Zoë Baker, Aqualand Group Managing Director, Jin Lin, and Aqualand Group Executive Chairman, Warwick Smith AO, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new development at 168 Walker Street, North Sydney, which was followed by a celebration in the new project precinct.

Towering 28 storeys above the streetscape, and commanding stunning views of Sydney Harbour, the striking $1 billion Woods Bagot-designed mixed-use residential community features 386 luxury apartments above a richly landscaped community precinct, including a two-storey curated food and beverage podium with four world-class venues operated by their hospitality business, Etymon Projects.

The landmark building is Sydney’s latest example of architecture as sculpture, a category that includes some of the city’s most memorable buildings, including the Sydney Opera House, Barangaroo House and Darling Harbour’s The Exchange.

Aqualand officially opens landmark North Sydney apartment development, AURA by Aqualand

AURA’s gracefully undulating organic shaped facade creates the illusion the single structure is divided into four separate towers, with staggered peaks stepping down from level 29 to level 23. Its distinctive hourglass shape cinches in at the level-nine ‘waist’ of the building, where the resident’s community centre is located.

Architect Jason Fraser, Principal at Woods Bagot, sought inspiration from the eroded sandstone forms of Sydney Harbour’s water’s edge and the ever-changing play of light on the water, with its ground plane featuring the same natural sandstone seen all through the prestigious suburb, to integrate the building into the unique landscape.

Delivered by Aqualand’s internal construction arm, Aqualand Construction, work on the project commenced in January 2020 and saw hidden luxury inclusions built into every layer of the building’s fabric to future-proof the structure, rather than just expressed via the visible fixtures and fittings.

AURA’s luxury oversized apartments exceed the minimum building requirements, with the standard size for a two-bedroom apartment in the area measuring 80sqm, whereas AURA’s measure 95sqm, plus a wintergarden, making them well over 100sqm in total. 

Aqualand officially opens landmark North Sydney apartment development, AURA by Aqualand

Residents are set to benefit from an elevated luxury lifestyle with amenities including a dedicated concierge service, wellness centre with gym equipped with world-leading fitness technology brand TechnoGym, pool and spa. A glamorous rooftop area offers a sky sun deck, private dining spaces, barbecue and kitchen space for year-round al fresco entertaining. 

The community centre includes working and entertaining amenities, including a cinema room.

Luxury inclusions include the integration of the latest technology, including provisions to charge electric vehicles. A pool of Tesla share vehicles is available for residents to hire, all apartments have full fibre nbn internet connections, and Wi-Fi hot spots have been installed in common areas throughout the entire building.

Crowning the tower are the Richards Stanisich-designed Aqua and Prima penthouses, which share the entire 28th level. The largest penthouse, Aqua, features a master suite, complete with substantial walk-in dressing area and ensuite, three other bedrooms, second ensuite   and another bathroom, powder room, open plan kitchen, scullery, substantial dining area and generous living room divided by a feature fireplace, and a multifunction wintergarden, which is ideal for a study and adjoining office breakout space. 

To assist residents with their lifestyle needs, Aqualand has appointed Etymon Concierge to deliver tailored specialised concierge services onsite, as well as premium bespoke lifestyle management.

Whilst these traditional concierge services will be provided to all AURA residents as part of their strata, such as the booking of amenities, including the pool, gym, rooftop Sky Deck, community room, meeting rooms and other bookable spaces - either face-to-face or via a dedicated app - two more bespoke layers of services will be available at additional cost.
Known as Concierge Now, the second tier offering includes the sourcing and management of specialist services such as dinner party organisation, the curation of a wine cellar, or executive assistant expertise, for instance.

The top-tier lifestyle management service, known as Black Key, is by invitation only and provides the ultimate in bespoke personalisation. This could include a range of everyday discrete services, from having groceries delivered, pets fed or plants watered, dinners or snacks and coffees ordered and delivered, recommendations on touring cultural events, including ticket sourcing, right up to organising visas and airfares for international travel.   

AURA’s extensive podium level retail precinct provides residents with a curated shopping and dining destination on their doorstep, including Sol, a bakery, café and wine bar; Una, an artisanal providore; Soluna, an LA-inspired all-day diner and bar; and Genzo, a Japanese restaurant. A network of landscaped laneways welcomes visitors into the precinct. 

Aqualand’s collaboration with award-winning landscape architects, Turf Design Studio, has resulted in a ground plane design that successfully integrates the project with the unique local environs of the characterful suburb. 

This landscape design was recently embellished with the installation of the site-specific public art piece titled ‘landscape’ by UK artist Richard Sweeny, which graces the Walker Street entrance to the precinct. 

AURA by Aqualand represents the fifth residential project delivered by Aqualand since the company’s launch in 2014, and today joins a portfolio of other completed luxury projects, including BLUE at Lavender Bay in Milsons Point and The REVY at Darling Island.

Jin Lin said the project’s completion in time for Aqualand’s tenth anniversary was fortuitous as it perfectly showcases what Aqualand has come to stand for over the last decade.

“We’ve achieved some remarkable milestones over the past 10 years, but really, we’re only at the start of our journey, and the future looks extremely promising," Jin Lin said.

"AURA stands as testament to us delivering on our objectives, which is to be the leader in positively transforming Sydney and our local communities through design excellence. 

“We’re committed to collaborating with the world’s finest designers and delivery partners and have an unwavering commitment to design excellence and delivering the highest build quality possible. We exist to provide a new sense of place for people to live, work and play, with an enriched lifestyle at all levels, and AURA perfectly demonstrates all of these attributes."

Jin Lin said delivering AURA has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience for everyone Aqualand.

"AURA will be home to more than just its residents. It’s set to become a North Sydney hub with its world-class retail spaces and the deep commitment invested in the suburb’s vibrancy and night-time economy through these venues.

“As the sole developer and builder of the state significant Central Barangaroo precinct, potential buyers there can now look to AURA as a living and breathing exemplar of what they can expect to us to deliver there. They can see the understated luxury we stand for first-hand, and this is incredibly rewarding."

Aqualand’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Alex Adams, said AURA’s completion is the start of an exciting new phase in the project’s customer journey.

“AURA is no longer an off-the-plan project. It’s now complete and move in ready. This removes any uncertainty in a potential buyer’s mind about purchasing off-the-plan, as they now have no doubt about the build quality. They can now see and feel the construction standards we insist on first-hand," Adams said.

“As our clients start to take move into their amazing new residences soon, potential buyers can visit the brand-new sales showroom at the Walker Street entrance and book a tour of the beautiful display apartments, which are fully furnished by Space Furniture to choose the layout that best suits them. They can also now see the incredible resident facilities and experience the amazing hospitality venues in the podium levels. AURA’s unique contribution to the broader North Sydney community is now clearly evident.

“We’ve seen outstanding sales already for AURA, which is testament to our clients’ trust in us. We achieved $100 million in sales in February alone, with the outstanding figure breaking the North Shore record for the highest sales volume and revenue achieved in one non-launch month."

Adams says AURA’s sales performance is a key indicator of the robust luxury market, coupled with a dire shortage of luxury stock and persistent rental shortages adding further pressure.

"Our buyers understand AURA really is incomparable to any other projects on the north shore for so many reasons, including its close proximity to so many top-tier private schools being just one on a long list of unique selling points."

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Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is the Editor in Chief at Urban.com.au, managing Urban's editorial team and creating the largest news cycle for the off the plan property market in the country. Joel has been writing about residential real estate for nearly a decade, following a degree in Business Management with a major in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University in England. He specializes in off the plan apartments, and has a particular interest in the development application process for new projects.

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