Developer plans $1b project over Sydney metro station

Developer Thirdi and funder Phoenix Property Partners have acquired two sites above Sydney Metro’s Crows Nest station on which they will develop up to 38,000 square metres in a project worth as much as $1 billion.

Privately owned Thirdi and Hong Kong-based Phoenix – in their fifth joint project – are planning a residential tower up to 17 storeys and a commercial tower with hotel of up to 200 rooms and between 15,000 and 25,000sq m of office space.

Having secured the site with a five-year settlement term that allowed it and equity partner Phoenix to ride out the current time of uncertainty, the next task was to work up detailed designs for the two sites, said Thirdi director Luke Berry. He declined to say how much the sites had cost.

“We’ve been approved to develop within that envelope of 38,000sq m and now it’s up to us to cut it up and put in different elements,” Mr Berry told The Australian Financial Review.

“That five year window allows us the time to get it right. It’s also time for the market to get on board with what we’re proposing.”

Crows Nest station, one of 18 new stations being developed for Sydney’s Metro City & Southwest rail line – which will link Chatswood on the lower north shore under Sydney Harbour and through to the CBD and Bankstown in the west – is due to start operating next year.

Under the concept proposal for the above-station development approved in 2020, the first site, Lot A, will have one or two towers with retail, office and the hotel, Mr Berry said.

The second site, Lot B, will have ground-floor retail with 140 apartments ranging from one- to four-bedroom dwellings.

With one-bedroom units selling from about $800,000, two-bedroom units from about $1.8 million, three-bedroom-apartments from “high” $2 millions and penthouses that carried $5 million-plus price tags, the units would sell in the $25,000-$30,000 per-square-metre range, he said.

“It would be comparable to the lower north shore current range,” he said.

Thirdi hopes to launch the residential project next year.

“If everything goes to plan, I’ll be in the market selling apartments by this time next year,” Mr Berry said.

“We see 2025-26 as boom years for off-the-plan apartments. That’s going to coincide really well with Crows Nest.”

The commercial building – or buildings – will be six green stars – with floor plates ranging from 500sq m to 1500sq m.

Mr Berry who called the financing market more challenging now than at any other time during his 20 years of development, said there was still a lot of debt available, higher-returning equity funding, was harder to secure.

“Equity needs to take a position on the development,” he said. “Do they believe in it? Believe you’re going to be able to build for a price? That you’ll be able to build in certain time? Sell at certain square-metre rate?”

Phoenix, which funded Thirdi’s 10-storey, 14,000-square-metre office building Blue & William in North Sydney – which Lendlease and Singapore-based Keppel REIT acquired for $327.7 million in 2021 – said it had a strong track record of success with the developer.

“We’re excited to continue our relationship with Thirdi and look forward to delivering the Crows Nest over station development in partnership with them,” 

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