Third.i Breaks Ground on Sydney’s Balfour Place

Luke Berry’s Thirdi has won two major prizes at the Asia-Pacific’s biggest real estate awards program, but if there was a trophy for persistence, the developer might have taken that as well.

Thirdi’s $180-million shoptop development in Lindfield—designed by Rothelowman and being built on Sydney’s North Shore—was named best low-rise mixed-use development for 2022, and in the grand final was also awarded best mixed-use development in Australia.

The Property Guru Asia Property Awards were announced in Bangkok at the weekend.

And delighted as he is with the award, Berry is possibly more proud of the ground-breaking ceremony last week.

“To say we’re proud of this incredible achievement is an understatement,” Berry said.

“But I think we’re very lucky with what we’ve done with the site.”

“We bought it well, we’ve obviously sold 100 per cent of the apartments off the plan in April this year for record prices and that’s allowed us to get funding support, which is very difficult in this market.”

To be called Balfour Place, it is the fourth collaboration between the Sydney-based developer and private equity group Phoenix Property Investors.

PPI acquired the development-ready site from previous developer Perth-based Pindan Group, which went into external administration in May, 2021 owing creditors about $80 million.

Thirdi resubmitted the development application, keeping the physical size of the building, but lowered the number of apartments from 71 to 59.

“That sounds counterintuitive for a developer wanting to sell less, but we didn’t lose the floor area we just created bigger apartments because the market was telling us that more people wanted larger units,” Berry said.

The one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments will sit on top of about 4500sq m of office and retail, including a new Coles supermarket.

One-bedroom apartments sold from $845,500 but it was a four-bedroom that broke off-the-plan records for the area, selling for $5.5 million. The average price was $17,370 per square metre.

“There’s a lot of banks anxious about lending on any project,” Berry said, “if there isn’t the fundamental debt cover in place, or pre-sales in place, if the building partner doesn’t have the track record and so forth.

“And for us to be able to navigate that in this economic cycle and start the project … we’re really proud of that.”

Construction is expected to be completed in November next year.

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