Nicole Frost and Tawar Razaghi
One of Sydney’s most divisive buildings, Sirius, has officially hit the market with a price tag of more than $120 million.
It has been described as “Australia’s most valuable freehold land”, according to the international sales campaign that was kicked off today by Savills Australia.
The Brutalist building in The Rocks is being sold by the NSW government after a long, concerted campaign by its residents and supporters of the public housing building for it to remain in the state government’s hands.
Community campaigners held several protests since the 2014 announcement to sell off the building that sits on prime real estate overlooking Sydney Harbour.
The current apartment block, completed in 1980, comprises of 79 units and 70 basement car spaces.
Savills director of residential site sales, Stuart Cox, said price expectations for the site were “north of $120 million” although he expected it to sell for much more.
He compared it to 71 Macquarie Street, a freehold site at Circular Quay, which sold in 2016 for about $158 million.
“You can keep the building in its current state,” Mr Cox explained. “Or as per the new planning controls [which are yet to be approved], you can demolish the building and create a luxury development.”
Development will depend on the government’s proposed amendments to the zoning of the 3664.5-square-metre block – recently on exhibition – which would allow for a change in building height, gross maximum floor area, street frontage, and design controls. Feedback is “currently being considered”.
Mr Cox said there was scope to increase the density towards the north of the site, maximising the uninterrupted views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House.
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There would be a a delayed settlement period, possibly in excess of two years, to allow for a “favourable planning outcome”.
He said hotel and residential developers around the globe had shown considerable interest.
Mr Cox added that the site was freehold, rather than leasehold like much of the surrounding properties, which made it more valuable.
The building is vacant after its last-remaining resident, 90-year-old Myra Demetriou, packed her bags earlier this year.
Save Our Sirius group, along with other campaigners including City of Sydney and unions, have all lobbied to stop the sell off since the announcement in 2014.
The sale was also opposed by the Labor opposition and Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore.
The Heritage Council recommended the building be placed on the heritage register for its Brutalist architecture and local political history.
More to come