Report from Lisa Visentin: SMH … Save Our Sirius Foundation chairman Shaun Carter said the organisation was not yet convinced the building had been saved and would wait to see further plans.
“We think the devil is in the detail,” Mr Carter, an architect said. “There is so much here we don’t know.”
City of Sydney mayor Clover Moore urged the government to invest the proceeds from the Sirius sale into building more social and affordable housing dwellings as part of the redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate.
“While I’m pleased that this important brutalist building will be retained rather than demolished, I’m extremely disappointed that a public asset that was purpose built to house people on low incomes has been sold for market housing after its tenants were evicted,” Cr Moore said.
“We are facing a housing and homelessness crisis in the city, with only one per cent of homes in Sydney classified as affordable and the numbers of people sleeping rough on our streets increasing.”
Sydney’s iconic Sirius building sold to developers for $150 million
Sydney’s iconic Sirius building has been sold to developers for $150 million, the NSW Government has announced.
- The sale comes amid a strong public campaign to save the building from developers
- The proposed development will include 89 apartments and commercial space
- The Government says the sale will help building social housing for 630 people
The brutalist landmark in The Rocks had been used for social housing since it opened in 1981.
However, the last resident was moved out last year.
NSW Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said the building had been sold to a company called Sirius Developments Pty Ltd, which was owned by investment firm JDH Capital.
She said the proposed “refurbishment” would revitalise the existing building.
“This is a great outcome that will see $150 million injected directly into building new social housing dwellings,” Mrs Pavey said.
“This is expected to provide housing for around 630 people, helping the most vulnerable members of our community.”
The building’s sale comes amid significant public campaign to save it from developers.
*Despite the advice of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, the State Government decided against heritage listing the building in 2017.
That sparked a challenge in the Land and Environment Court, which was ultimately unsuccessful.
The building was sold following a tender process that saw “significant national and international interest”, the Government said.
It said the proposed refurbishment would deliver 89 apartments — 10 more than the building’s current 79-apartment configuration — plus retail and commercial spaces.
Mrs Pavey said the sale of 189 dwellings in nearby Millers Point had netted more than $750 million.
This money had gone towards constructing 1,500 residential units, of which 1,300 had already been built.
Developer paid ‘a handsome price’
*Chairperson of the Save Our Sirius Foundation, Shaun Carter, said he was “not getting too excited” by the sale, which he described as “secret squirrel, done behind closed doors”.
Mr Carter questioned why the developer had paid a premium for the building, when others had only been willing to pay around $100 million to $120 million.
“Someone’s paying a handsome price for this site,” he said.
“The cynic in me says, what else are they expecting?”
Mr Carter used the Barangaroo development as an example of development in Sydney exceeding initial plans.
“If we look at this government and their actions with Barangaroo, that started as a project that was less than half the size that it is today,” he said.
“If we use that as a measure, then we could be seeing Sirius demolished and towers on the site.”
He said the Government had refused to engage the Save Our Sirius group, which still hoped the building’s brutalist character would remain and be heritage listed.