Monday, 31 July 2017

1979: The Sirius is opened

Photo taken by the Author (2015)

Last week, the NSW Government lost a court case against the NSW Heritage Council's council to proceed with the decision to list the Sirius Building on the State Heritage Register. This has set back plans by Housing NSW to sell the site to a building developer and allow for a private housing development to rise on the site.


Source: Berryman, M. 1977. Vast Rocks Unit Complex Will Change Skyline. The Sun Herald, September 4, 19. 

In 1977, there was some excitement when the plans for the building were unveiled. It was to be the first residential apartment complex to be built under the The Rocks Redevelopment Authority which had been established in 1970. The complex was designed by Architect Theo (Tao) Gofers. An early scheme (below) included a second building, which was to be commercial.

Some might say its disjointed but it was for a reason - to reflect the disjointed skyline. It would form the shape of a Pyramid. In addiiton, it was to minimise the impact of the complex on the skyline itself. In addition, it was to follow the layout of the area.

The apartments were designed primarily for the aged and families. For instance, access to apartments in the Sirius was via lifts and no stairs could be found at the entrance. The first residents moved into apartments in 1979.

In addition, there was a community hall, library and a rooftop garden available to residents, except the garden was never really made available.

As of May, two residents remained in the complex, the NSW Heritage Council has recommended that it be listed on the NSW Heritage Register for its brutalist architecture, but also was a project that proceeded despite initial Green Bans on the site.

However the NSW Government has opposed it and allowing its demolition would allow for the site to be sold for a higher price, and allowing greater scope for redevelopment. If Sirius was allowed only to be converted into a private housing complex, potential revenue from its sale would be lower.

The Sirius gave those from the working class and the disadvantaged an opportunity to share in the spoils that living around Sydney Harbour had to offer. The views themselves are worth millions. This era is set to come to an end, irrespective of whether or not the Sirius is allowed to remain.



Saturday, 29 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Harrington Grande (1998) - NEVER BUILT

This week, we head to Harrington Street in the Sydney CBD where apartments in the Harrington Grande tower were on sale in 1998. One problem though, it never went ahead and was replaced with the Harry Seidler designed Cove Apartments in 2003 (Approved by Sydney City Council in 2000).

The developer is not mentioned, unless they were trying to find a developer to purchase the development application.

Quite a rare find.

  Harrington Grande SMH May 2 1998 23RE

Source: Anonymous. 1998. "The Harrington Grande" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 2, 23RE (Real Estate Liftout). 

Monday, 24 July 2017

1987: Early Highrise Proposal for 400 George Street

A contact of mine at Sydney City Council - Richard Braddish has mentioned to me and other highrise enthuaists that there was a major proposal in the late 1980's for an office tower at 400 George Street.

We ended up with an office tower a decade later, but shorter than what was envisioned.


Source: Jackson, D. 1987. "Up, up and Away". SMH Style (The Sydney Morning Herald), January 15, 4.  

The 1987 proposal would see the tower rise 43 levels above George Street. The architect was Andrew Metcalf. His scheme proposed that the tower would rise above a five storey retail podium, retaining facades of historic buildings, yet adding a human element to it. The tower itself would rise set back from the podium.

400 George Street as viewed from Sydney Tower. Photo taken by the Author (2012).

It would be a decade before an office tower was built on the site, following the collapse of the property market at the end of the 1980's combined with reduced demand for office space in central Sydney. However it only rose 35 levels or 138 metres above street level.

The retail complex became known as the Sydney Arcade which followed an arc from King Street through to the Pitt Street Mall. It offers high end retail. If the original scheme had gone ahead, we probably might have ended up with a retail complex like the Glasshouse and Mid City Centre as originally built in those times with disjointed layouts etc. In fact we might have seen a redevelopment of it to compete with the offerings of the current Pitt Street Mall.

Photo taken by the Author (2004)

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Kenthurst, Mosman (1966)

In October 1966, just $10 000 (5000 pounds) would land you an apartment in Ourimbah Road, Mosman. It's located near McPherson Street and would be in walking distance of shops at Cremorne Junction and Mosman.

I have included a Google Streetview Reference.

The agent was allowed to advertise in pounds and pence despite the conversion to decimal currency months earlier.

Kenthurst Mosman Ad October 14 1966 the sun 48

Source: Anonymous. 1966. "Kenthurst" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 14, 48.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Oscar on Hollywood, Bondi Junction (1995)

This week, we head to Bondi Junction where Meriton were selling apartments in the Oscar on Hollywood complex.


Oscar on Hollywood Ad June 24 1995 SMH 84

Source: Meriton Premier Apartments. 1995. "Oscar on Hollywood" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 24, 84. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

1965: Rare Aerial Photo of the State Office Building

After finding a feature on the Water Board Building upon its completion in 1965 from The Sydney Morning Herald, the same edition featured a rare aerial photo of the nearly completed State Office Building in Phillip Street. It featured on Page 1.

It had become the tallest building in Australia at 35 levels or 128 metres tall. It would be surpassed by Australia Square within less than 18 months.


Source: Anonymous. 1965. "Untitled" (photograph). The Sydney Morning Herald, December 21, 1. 

The building was demolished in 1997 for the Aurora Place complex. It is the tallest building in Australia to be demolished to date and 18th tallest against other world buildings.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Terraced Gardens Estate, Kirrawee (1966)

This week, we head to Southern Sydney, where $3000 (£ 1500 ) bought you a block of land at Kirrawee in 1966. Note the advertising in pounds, despite the introduction of decimal currency earlier in the year. This was allowed until 1968. 

Kirrawee Ad October 21 1966 the sun 58

Source: Parkes Developments Pty. Ltd. 1966. "Terraced Gardens Estate" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 21, 58. 

Monday, 3 July 2017

1965: Sydney's new Water Board Building

In 1962, it was announced that the Water Board (Sydney Water) would construct a new building next to its existing 1938 building at the corner of Bathurst and Pitt Street.

It would be the first major tall building built towards the southern end of the city, rising 23 levels above the street level to a height of 330 feet. A major feature was the sun control panels to control sunlight streaming into the building.

By the end of 1965, it had become reality. Below is a feature article as published by The Sydney Morning Herald on December 21 (Click image to see a larger version).

Source: Edwards, N. 1965. "First giant office block at the southern end of city since war". The Sydney Morning Herald, December 21, 18.

In 2008, the Water Board (now Sydney Water) moved to a new complex at Parramatta, and the building was sold to Brookfield Multiplex for $150 million. It was intended that a new, modern office tower be built on the site. This did not proceed.

Chinese developer Greenland Properties bought the site from Brookfield Multiplex for $100 million in 2013. It has proceeded with plans to gut and partially demolish the tower for a new apartment building that will more than double the height of the building. Work is underway.

Greenland Centre Sydney Render
Above: Greenland Sydney

Source: Untitled [Still Image]. In Build Sydney. January 17, 2017. Accessed June 30, 2017. https://www.buildsydney.com/greenland-centre-sydney-cbd-237m/

When completed, the tower will rise 68 levels or 237 metres above street level. At this stage it will be the tallest skyscraper in Sydney until the completion of the 272 metre Crown Resort at Barangaroo in 2021. It is also anticipated that it will also lose the mantle of tallest apartment in Sydney with a number of residential towers proposed for Central Sydney that will rise up to 260 metres in height.


Above: The Sydney Water Building is gutted as part of its conversion into an apartment tower. Photo taken by the Author (2017). 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week : Weekly Meriton SMH Advertisement from June 13 1998

I love these classic weekly advertisements from the late 1990's by Meriton Apartments in The Sydney Morning Herald. They kept the rivers of gold flowing at Broadway each weekend and maximised the broadsheet layout to its advantage. All of their developments featured on the one page. Take a look and see what projects were featured.

Meriton Apts Ad June 13 1998 SMH 25RE

Source: Meriton Premier Apartments. 1998. "Invest in a way of life" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 13, 25RE (Real Estate Lift out).