North Sydney's CBD renewal will see pivot to apartments as Metro station nears

Aqualand’s $1bn development, Aura has seen strong sales since its launch last year
North Sydney's CBD renewal will see pivot to apartments as Metro station nears
North Sydney from Aura by Aqualand. Image supplied
Jonathan ChancellorJanuary 30, 2022

Sydney developers are building office and residential towers as the North Sydney CBD prepares for the opening of its new Metro station

The new wave in development is set to pivot the precinct into a key apartment hub for the first time.

Aqualand’s $1bn development, Aura has seen strong sales since its launch last December.

Leveraging off the success of nearby Blue at Milsons Point, Aqualand is building a 386-apartment tower on its 168 Walker St site, located near North Sydney Oval.

It's a Woods Bagot design, with interiors by Richards Stanisich.

Its three bedroom apartments were the most popular among buyers, starting at $3 million with owner occupiers and a sprinkling of investors.

Melbourne-based Cbus Property is advancing its project plans, having partnered with Neil Werrett’s Galileo on East Walker St, North Sydney.

The 4000sq m amalgamation of seven residential sites is located within North Sydney Council’s Ward Street Precinct, a masterplan initiative intended to stimulate the northern end of North Sydney’s CBD.

The site at 173-179 Walker Street and 11-17 Hampden Street, North Sydney is among the opportunities emerging from the decision to proceed with Victoria Cross Metro station, which opens in 2024.

Cbus plan to develop high-end owner-occupier residences with views across the harbour.

FJMT Studio has been appointed to design the project which pending approval, will see demolition and excavation next year.

Its construction is anticipated to commence in 2023 with completion in 2026.

Cbus and Galileo purchased the site for around $150 million from property developer Avenor, which had spent several years amalgamating the site.

The site include five residential flat buildings each of three to four storeys and two single dwelling houses.

The Avenor development application indicated increased residential densities would increase the demand for retail and commercial services, increasing the economic viability and vibrancy of North Sydney. The planning proposal was initially assessed by the Sydney North Planning Panel in 2017/2018 and deemed by the panel to have strategic merit.

Developers took a look at the 167-room The Rydges North Sydney Hotel, which was listed for sale at 54 McLaren St, but yet to find a buyer.

The hotel occupies a 2549sq m freehold site in North Sydney.

The Sydney Metro rail development will see the commute from Victoria Cross Station in North Sydney to Barangaroo in Sydney’s CBD just three minutes.

The fresh wave of office projects in North Sydney has seen Sydney's fast-growing second CBD set accommodate a further 20,000 workers by 2036.

Heavy government and private investment in North Sydney is planned with 19 key projects that will see over 17,000sqm of new parks and plazas, creating a new network of laneways, and improving pedestrian safety and amenity.

The initial $3.2 billion wave of office development included Suntech REIT’s 177 Pacific Highway, Winten Property Group’s 1 Denison Street and Dexus’ 100 Mount Street towers.

Now a further $2.9 billion of projects include Lendlease’s Victoria Cross tower and Billbergia’s office-hotel development at 88 Walker.

It has been noted strata dwellings within the North Sydney LGA provide a more affordable option for its residents and key workers. 

The Avenor application noted the median strata price was 109% lower than the median price of non-strata dwellings in the LGA.

The Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) project the need for an additional 11,450 dwelling for the LGA over the next 20 years from 2016, equating to a target of 573 new dwellings per annum in the LGA.

Of this growth in households, 51% or 5,350 households is attributed to lone person households, while 23% and 12% is attributed to couples without dependents and couples without dependents, respectively.

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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