The Sydney apartment market has proven it still has legs after developer Landream snapped up one of the biggest development sites in Sydney since the market cooled, a 1.2-hectare former council depot in Pyrmont worth more than $200 million.The Melbourne-based developer, which burst on to the Sydney scene with record-breaking sales at its luxury development Opera Residences at Circular Quay two years ago, has purchased 14-26 Wattle Street from the City of Sydney council for a mixed-use project.
A new Ultimo Public School was originally earmarked for the site but the NSW government walked away from a deal to purchase the site for the school in 2015.
New plans for the site however will not stray away from providing much-needed public spaces and amenities, with the council’s sale to Landream conditional upon its provision of a 91-place childcare centre and a two-court indoor recreational centre.
The 48,000sq m floor space designated for the site will include these amenities, an accessible through-site walkway/link between Wattle and James streets as well as apartments. It is understood only apartments will be built although the number of units has not yet been confirmed.
The acquisition is in line with Landream’s strategy to pick only the best-located sites around Australia for development. The group known for its slow-and-steady approach has always maintained the apartment market will make an about-turn in a few years from now and plans to continue building in good locations to ride out the cycle.The group and its partner, Chinese developer Macrolink, made headlines after achieving the highest sales rate for apartments in Sydney when two of its penthouses at Opera Residences sold for $96,000 a square metre. The project sits on the former Coca-Cola Amatil headquarters at 71 Macquarie Street in the Sydney CBD.
It recently completed the mixed-use Beecroft Place development in Beecroft in Sydney’s north.
It has however paid a premium for the Wattle Street site, with land in Sydney’s prime areas still holding value despite the slowing housing market.
At $200 million, the land rate is equivalent to about $16,000 a square metre. A similar site in the area – the former Tabcorp headquarters at 495 Harris Street – sold for about $12,000 a square metre during the boom of 2012-2017.
The site directly across Wentworth Park, Sydney’s greyhound racing venue, is particularly valuable with its proximity to the soon-to-be revamped Sydney Fish Markets, two universities and Chinatown.
CBRE’s Kelwyn Teo, Scott Gray-Spencer and Ben Wicks brokered the sale of Wattle Street.