Teaching old dogs new tricks
Re-purposed … 1 Albert Street, Circular Quay, where Goldfields House awaits demolition to be replaced by two residential towers. Photo: Sasha Woolley
THE relatively low supply of Sydney offices, until the completion of Barangaroo South, will come under even more pressure as developers scour older buildings for conversion into apartments.
This has occurred at the eastern end of the city, with the former Stockland headquarters in Liverpool Street now a block of units.
Development of residential sites is also occurring on the College Street side of Hyde Park.
All the new projects are on the fringe of the core central business district, including around Hyde Park, Circular Quay, Walsh Bay and north of the Harbour Bridge in Lavender Bay and Milsons Point.
The decision to ditch the space for office use comes as the multimillion-dollar redevelopments offer good locations, harbour and leafy views, and access to all forms of transport.
The regeneration of the city - with new pubs, restaurants that close later and public spaces - has made CBD living far more appealing than a decade ago.
Hoteliers have also decided to convert empty rooms into apartments, but under their brand names. The Sir Stamford in Macquarie Street near Circular Quay has done this, offering the hotel's brand and location as a hotel and apartments.
The director of CBD sales and investment services at Colliers International, Stephen Kovacs, said the most high-profile example was the proposed demolition of Goldfields House at 1 Alfred Street, Circular Quay. This will be carried out for the construction of two new residential towers, but the trend is occurring across various site sizes.
Mr Kovacs said the owner of Fairfax House, adjoining Goldfields House, had also obtained stage-one development consent for demolition of the existing building and construction of a new mixed-use development comprising a commercial podium and a unit tower.
''Crown International group recently purchased 161-165 Clarence Street, which has approval for a new commercial building of 19,000 square metres. However, it is expected that Crown will seek a new residential development consent,'' Mr Kovacs said.
Another project is earmarked for Hudson House at 131 Macquarie Street. PTW Architects recently lodged an application on behalf of the strata owners of the site for conversion of 12 of the 17 commercial levels to full-floor four-bedroom apartments.
Mr Kovacs said the top levels were at present occupied by the American Club and Australian Hotels Association, and those commercial uses would remain.
The proposal includes the addition of new balconies on levels four to 13.
Another proposed change from commercial to residential is in the heritage-listed Lawson Menzies building in Gloucester Street, where approval has been obtained for four levels of commercial space.
An application has been lodged for the lower two levels to become a wine bar and the top two floors to be refitted as residential.
''This augurs well for owners of CBD buildings catering to small tenants, as not only are none of the new buildings catering to this market but the existing supply in the CBD core is being eroded,'' Mr Kovacs said.