Is this a nightmare in the making … ?
-It remains unclear what will happen to the illegally dug floors, or who will pay for their rectification
-When Toplace dug its three extra floors, it failed to waterproof them.
In the Land and Environment Court
-Toplace water expert thought waterproofing the floors would be prohibitively expensive and impractical
-the alternative would require permanently pumping the water from the basements; an ongoing expense; contrary to best practice and principles of ecological sustainable development (Council’s water expert)
The result was that in late 2017 LEC commissioner Sarah Bish refused the application by Toplace:
-for retrospective approval of its extra floors.
-the commissioner could not satisfy herself about the “structural integrity” of the work that had been done and ordered a halt to any construction at the site
-“commercial discussions” with the developer have not been finalised.
Thanks to Jean Nassif, visitors to Parramatta have fewer spots to park their cars; fortunately for the property developer, he has ample garage room for the family’s new yellow Lamborghini.
Mr Nassif’s company, Toplace, has been in a stalemate with the City of Parramatta council over a major residential development in which Toplace dug three basement levels for which it did not have approval.
When property developer Jean Nassif bought a yellow Lamborghini for his wife and shared the vision of her receiving it on social media the public couldn’t help themselves.
The stand-off has meant that Parramatta locals and visitors do not yet have access to more than 700 CBD parking spots, which were to be returned for public use in return for Toplace’s development rights.
But the debacle of the non-compliant basement is not Mr Nassif’s only recent worry. In the past week, a video posted to social media depicting the moment in which he gifts a new car to his wife Nissy Nassif has become something of a meme, opening up his developer lifestyle to fun at its gauche expense.
Mr Nassif’s travails in Parramatta follow Toplace’s decision to dig two extra levels of car parking underneath 189 Macquarie Street, and a third level in which to hold a hydraulic tank pumping out water.
Toplace did have approval, granted in late 2015, to build a 30-storey apartment block at the site, containing 425 apartments and 715 parking spots for public use.
It remains unclear what will happen to the illegally dug floors, or who will pay for their rectification. The City of Parramatta said this week that it was “no longer in litigation” with Toplace and that the “parties are working together to complete the project”.
But the terms of that agreement have not been disclosed, nor have the details about who will pay to rectify the project. When Toplace dug its three extra floors, it failed to waterproof them.
In the Land and Environment Court (LEC), that resulted in an issue over whether the extra floors should be retro-fitted with waterproofing, or whether they should be pumped.
A water expert hired by Toplace thought waterproofing the floors would be “prohibitively expensive and impractical”.
The alternative would require permanently pumping the water from the basements – an ongoing expense, and contrary to “best practice and principles of [ecological sustainable development,” according to the council’s water expert.
The result was that in late 2017 LEC commissioner Sarah Bish refused the application by Toplace, which had shown “blatant disregard regarding compliance,” for retrospective approval of its extra floors. The commissioner also could not satisfy herself about the “structural integrity” of the work that had been done and ordered a halt to any construction at the site.
Despite the difficulty with the development, Mr Nassif, who did not respond to requests for comment, must be doing OK. In his Instagram video, the developer introduces a “beast” of a yellow Lamborghini as a gift for his wife, Nissy. “Congratulations Mrs Nassif… you like?,” he says in the video.
The video triggered a run of copy-cat clips. The meme involved people saying congratulations to “Mrs Nassif” over various yellow objects – such as wheelie bins, toy trucks, or washing up gloves – asking whether she liked them.
Mrs Nassif, however, appeared well-equipped to handle the notoriety. In a post to Instagram on Thursday, she responded to all the “heroes”.
“Focus on your own future and how you can provide a good luxurious life for yourselves, your wives, children and your loved ones… And yasss z beast is still in my garage … And yassss I like like like itttt.”
As well as being developers, the Nassif family are behind the “Wiping Tears” charity.
Mr Nassif’s brother, Sarkis, was the 2017 property person of the year, as named by lobby group the Urban Taskforce.
A Parramatta councillor, Lorraine Wearne, said both the community and the council had suffered from the 189 Macquarie Street development.
“Council was supposed to have acquired a number of parking spaces for the public to use to replace those that were lost with that development,” Cr Wearne said.
“I would like to see this resolved satisfactorily so we don’t have developers being rewarded for doing the wrong thing.”
A council spokeswoman said details of “commercial discussions” with the developer had not been finalised.
Jacob Saulwick is City Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.