MANY of the directors and shareholders of the five companies that developed the Mascot Towers continue to be involved in apartment and townhouse projects across Sydney …
Mascot Towers developers busy building apartments across Sydney
The developers and landowners responsible for the beleaguered Mascot Towers unit block have been energetic developers of apartment and townhouse projects across Sydney.
As the owners and tenants of the 132-unit block in Mascot learnt that the 10-storey apartment complex was “moving in a downward movement” and engineers had “identified a new issue” with the structure, company and council searches show the extent of the ambitions of the building’s proponents.
The strata plan lodged for the 1-5 Bourke Road, Mascot, property identifies five companies as the landowners or developers of the project.
Four of those companies have been deregistered. Yet many of the directors and shareholders of the five companies continue to be involved in a range of Sydney property projects.
The one company not to be deregistered, JB Elias Pty Ltd, is owned by Hanna and Susie Elias.
A separate company owned by 59-year-old Hanna Elias, JB Hillsdale Pty Ltd, obtained approval for a 69-unit project at Bunnerong Road, Hillsdale, in 2017, and won state government approval for extra apartments at that site last year.
Other projects developed by companies controlled by Mr Hanna Elias include a unit block on Robertson Street in Sutherland in 2011 and a townhouse development on Myrtle Street, Botany, the following year.
The 55-year-old Elias Elias of Strathfield was a director and shareholder of the deregistered Damjet Pty Ltd, one of the Mascot landowners.
Another company owned by Elias Elias, Homebur Develop Pty Ltd, last year obtained approval from Sutherland Council for a 34-unit development in Gymea. A separate company owned by Elias Elias is also working on that project.
Another company owned by Elias Elias has developed townhouses in Strathfield.
Sarkis Elias was a director of B-1sT Choice Roofing Pty Ltd, another of the Mascot developers. In 2010 a company owned by Sarkis Elias purchased the former Botany RSL club on Botany Road from RSL NSW; four years later a separate company owned by Sarkis Elias obtained approval for 19 units to be developed on that site.
The complicated relationships between companies established to carry out the projects is illustrative of a common practice in the Sydney building industry.
The detail about the recent histories of the Mascot developers comes as residents were told in an update from the building’s owners’ corporation that monitoring of the site had been expanded and two geotechnical engineers would visit the site this week.
The update said an engineer had identified a new issue “along the north and eastern boundaries of the building”, and the building was “moving downwards”.
A later statement from the owners’ corporation said it would be inaccurate to say this meant the building was sinking.
“Any interpretation of the building sinking at present is considered to be alarmist,” the statement said.
Mascot Towers’ Owners Corporation says a document hold-up from Bayside Council is delaying “the identification of the underlying cause and engineers developing a solution”. The documents include council-approved detailed drawings of the site, foundation plans, detailed specification plans and detailed civil works.
But Bayside Mayor Bill Saravinovski strongly denied allegations the council is withholding the documents relating to Mascot Towers.
“Council is making every effort to ensure all necessary documents relating to Mascot Towers are available. We are talking about records going back to 2004. These records need to be recovered from offsite archive facilities,” he said.
“We have been there, helping and assisting, from day one. Our concern is for the residents. If it would speed things up I will drive to the Hunter Storage Facility and pick up the files myself.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said there was “tension and uncertainty” amongst owners, with some contemplating declaring bankruptcy because they “don’t know what we are going to do”.
In the hopes of raising spirits, the owners have all purchased lotto tickets for a “bit of fun in the middle of the chaos”, said the resident.
An owners’ meeting is expected to be held at 7pm on Thursday night at the Stamford Airport Hotel.
The Herald attempted to contact Hanna Elias, Sarkis Elias, and Elias Elias.
Jacob Saulwick is City Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Laura is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Carrie Fellner is an investigative reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.