Aqualand, Develotek Partner for 600 Apartment Chatswood Project


Sydney-based Aqualand has partnered with local developer Develotek Property Group to build four apartment buildings in Sydney's lower north shore.

The partnership will deliver more than 600 apartments and around 10,000sq m of commercial and retail space across four separate prime sites in Chatswood, which they will hold and lease.

Develotek began the search for a development partner for its "Bertram Project" in 2018 after consolidating a 5,420sq m site from eight houses and 12 townhouses located on Archer Street, Bertram Street and Albert Avenue.

The three additional sites, measuring 5,000sq m are located at Gordon Avenue, Anderson Street and Pacific Highway.

“After considering proposals from many developers we determined Aqualand to be suitably resourced to deliver this scale of development including capital, construction services and with a significant focus on the North Shore market,” Develotek director Robert Sargis said.

“Develotek will utilise its internal resources to contribute design and planning and work collaboratively with Aqualand on creating the most community friendly developments to Chatswood.”

A planning proposal to rezone the area has been in the works for 18 months, with the pair of firms waiting for a go-ahead from the NSW Department of Planning.

▲ The joint venture sounded out the Chatswood sites for transport, employment, retail and residential opportunities. Image: Mark Merton

Aqualand chief executive John Carfi told The Urban Developer that the highly valued and under-supplied suburb of Chatswood provided strong opportunities for Aqualand and Develotek who were incentivised by the area’s overarching fundamentals.

“We have a really good opportunity to provide something different in Chatswood with the scale and locations of these projects.”

Sydney-based Develotek, an expert in planning and site amalgamations, is known for its capital partnerships with high-profile developers.

Last year, Develotek formed a $400 million joint venture with developers Shokai Ausbao to build 618-apartments across three residential towers in Sydney’s West.

“Develotek have a great track record of optioning up sites and getting things through very complicated planning processes,” Carfi said.

“We will now put our strengths behind them to assist with planning approvals, funding and building these projects.”

As well as dedicated community assets including open space, multiple pedestrian links, heritage restoration, enhanced public domain landscaping and road widening, developers intend to retain a number of apartments for key workers in the area, including school teachers, health care and emergency service employees.

A community open space is also outlined for Albert Avenue, including heritage restoration, vegetation enhancement, pedestrian links, public domain improvements and road widening.

Planning permitting, Aqualand are aiming to launch the project in 12 to 18 months.

Related: Aqualand Launches $480 Million Norwest Masterplan

Servicing Sydney's evolving transport corridor

Chinese-backed Aqualand, which has had a focus on inner-city residential projects since beginning its Australian operations in 2014, is aligning its Chatswood developments with Willoughby council's 20-year strategy.

The council's strategy, to grow the Chatswood CBD both as a major employment centre and high-density residential precinct, has been the product of extensive community consultation since early 2017.

The strategy encourages commercial office development with taller heights and floor space to attract a larger share of major corporations to the Chatswood CBD.

The Bertram project will benefit from its close proximity to the CBD and new metro access with the transport corridor providing renewed demand for homes.

“We are looking to add to the amenity of the surrounding area through new public spaces and good design which will be highly sought after thanks to the sites location next to transport options,” Carfi told The Urban Developer.

The $7 billion Metro Northwest line from Rouse Hill to Chatswood, the city's first privately operated suburban line, to be run by Hong Kong's MTR, is expected to be opened to passengers on May 26.

The second stage under construction comprises a line from Chatswood, under Sydney Harbour to the CBD and onto Sydenham and Bankstown, which is scheduled to be opened by 2024.

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