The Quay development on long-dormant Sydney Chinatown site sells well in first weekend

Construction has begun on the last of 20 “black holes” in Sydney’s Chinatown that were formerly part of Paddy’s Market, as Ausbao’s The Quay development gets under way.

The 270-apartment complex launched on Saturday, and CBRE director Murray Wood told Property Observer nearly 200 sold on the day. He says he expects more to sell today.

Of these, about 55% sold to owner-occupiers and many to locals, according to the Australian Financial Review, which reports that any unsold stock will be marketed in Hong Kong after May 7.

The agents report that buyers queued up from seven in the morning, and buying activity was “frenzied” once doors opened at 7.30am. Buyers have a five-day cooling-off period to change their minds.

Chinese-backed Ausbao Group bought the site at 61-79 Quay Street in 2009 for $38.38 million, according to RP Data, and has plans for a two-tower, $280 million development.

After purchasing the site the developer held a design competition, and Sydney City Council granted WMK Architecture’s winning entry 10% “bonus” floorspace because of its environmental features and ability to re-activate public spaces on the long-dormant site.

The site was the poultry section of Paddy’s Market from 1912 until the 1950s (historical photo above), and was a retail warehouse for a time. The building burnt down in 1985, leaving just a portion of the façade, and in the late 1980s and early 1990s recession projects to revitalise the site were abandoned.

It has been a car park in recent years, and is bounded by Quay Street, Thomas Street and Thomas Lane.

The Quay development will incorporate the façade of the former warehouse and will include 255 car spaces, three retail levels and copious bike parking along with the residential component. 

Apartments will range in price between $390,000 and over $1.7 million, according to marketing agents CBRE, which notes that the prices are not finalised yet. One-bedroom apartments will range between 36 and 64 square metres internally. Most will come with car spaces and some will include studies.

The two-bedroom apartments in The Quay will range from 76 to 88 square metres and will all include at least one car space, and the three-bedroom offerings will range between 104 square metres and 131 square metres internally. All the three-bedroom units will come with two car spaces.

CBRE head of residential project David Milton says the car spaces may be unnecessary for residents’ day-to-day life.

“We’re sure businesspeople and working couples will like the convenience of living in a walk-to-work situation, but if they do need to travel there is light rail and buses virtually outside the front door and Central Railway just across the road,” he says.

“This is certainly one location in Sydney where you can do without a car.”

A terrace garden will connect the two towers, and it will also feature an indoor/outdoor gymnasium.

“We introduced elements previously only seen in prestigious hotels, which gives The Quay an unique architectural point of difference over other residential developments,” says WMK managing director Greg Barnett.

“The geometric glass, aluminum and louvre facades embrace strong vertical and horizontal planes, and the subtly different architectural expression of each tower reflects the diversity of the inner city Haymarket precinct. You could say the buildings have different personalities within a common language.”

The interiors have been designed by Smart Design Studio and are set to be both unconventional and striking.

““Our concept is ‘life beautifully packaged’, and we’ve taken inspiration from the world of luxury brands,” says Smart Design Studio founder William Smart. “We’ve foregone the overhead cupboards, white polyurethane joinery and blond timber accents in order to create a special place that is crafted and unique. This concept pursues the idea that things that surround us can create the mood of a space, just like a stage set builds the scene that transports us to another world.”

The buildings will include sustainable extras like plantation-grown timber, eco-friendly building services and a gas heated central hot water system.

The development will be directly opposite the University of Technology Sydney’s Haymarket campus, where Australia’s first Frank Gehry-designed building is due to be built.

Construction began on the development a few weeks ago and is due to be completed in mid-2014.


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