Mirvac, Coombes score planning approval for Sydney's tallest residential tower

Mirvac, Coombes score planning approval for Sydney's tallest residential tower

The Central Sydney Planning Committee has given planning consent for a mixed-use residential tower on George Street that will be the tallest of its kind in the city, to be developed by Mirvac (ASX: MGR) on behalf of Coombes Property Group.

With its 507 luxury serviced apartments, the project forms part of a $914 million redevelopment overhaul that also includes a development from Event Hospitality & Entertainment (ASX: EVT).

Coombes' development application lodged with the City of Sydney for 505-523 George St estimates a cost of works of $692 million, alongside Event's redevelopment of the adjoining block on 525-529 George St for $222 million.

The latter involves demolishing the existing building and constructing a 150-metre tall mixed-use building, and was also approved yesterday subject to conditions.

An Event Cinemas complex currently straddles both land titles, and sits on land that in the 1970s was home to a Hoyts complex that was the largest in the world when it was built, and the Trocadero Theatre before that. 

The 505 George St project is set to soar 270 metres high, just one metre short of Crown Sydney and around 27 metres shorter than Melbourne's Eureka Tower. 

Ameneties include a rooftop restaurant and bar, retail, boutique cinemas, a childcare facilities, conferencing facilities and a meeting room facility for the council.

Designed by Melbourne-based Architectus and German-headquartered Ingenhoven, the project won the MIPIM/Architectural Review Future Project Award in the Tall Buildings category last year.

"With its central location and visionary design, 505 George Street will incorporate world-leading sustainability features and the high-quality built form outcomes Mirvac is known for," says Mirvac head of residential, Stuart Penklis.

"With proven experience in delivering award-winning precincts that make a positive contribution to Australia's urban landscape, Mirvac is ideally placed to once again reimagine city living with this transformational project.

"505 George Street is meticulously designed for the future. Residents will be able to live, work, shop and socialise, all within the precinct, recognising the desire of Sydneysiders for increasingly convenient lifestyles."

During yesterday's meeting with the committee, Mirvac senior development manager Dominic Hunt highlighted planning and discussions had been going on since 2013.

"During the preparation of the detail proposal, we worked closely with the City to analyse the context, particularly the views overshadowing the visual impact to our surrounding neighbours to establish a polite and slender tower, enveloped set back towards Kent Street.

"The winning design was described by the competition jury as compelling in its clarity and elegance as a timeless and poetic new addition to the Sydney skyline, and as an urban response at ground level.

"As part of this collaborative process and in response to comments from the city's design advisory panel, we made further enhancements to the design including an increase in public domain through a partial consolidation of driveways with a proposed neighbouring development at 525-529 George St."

Hunt adds the project would be zero carbon ready, and would push the boundaries of environmentally sustainable design.

Coombes Property Group director Michael Coombes says the project has the potential to redefine Sydney's Mid-City precinct and help restore George Street as the thriving focal point of the city centre and main CBD thoroughfare.

"With its prominent location at the city's southern gateway and its distinctive design, 505 George St will become a new icon for the city skyline," he says.

"Its delivery will signal the resurgence of Sydney's Mid-Town, revitalising the historic precinct which includes the adjacent Town Hall complex, and bringing it back into line with nearby Darling Harbour and Circular Quay, by making it a global destination in its own right."

Ingenhoven founder Christoph Ingenhoven says it has been a great pleasure to have the opportunity to add a high-rise to Sydney's wonderful skyline.

"A sustainable addition to the city, a "friendly neighbour" in the public realm, that due to its integral ecological and green design positively impacts the environment," he says.

"We are grateful to the City of Sydney for supporting and endorsing this approach and together with Architectus and our clients, we will once again aim to set new standards for a responsible, social, sustainable and beautiful building in a major city."

Architectus principal and CEO Ray Brown says his firm is elated that 505 George Street has been approved by the Central Sydney Planning Committee.

"The mix of uses and street activation will redefine the precinct and add to a more diverse and connected neighbourhood. We look forward to working with our design partners Ingenhoven Architects to realise this city shaping project."

Coombes Property Group is the landowner and developer of the project. Consistent with the business model of Coombes Property Group, ownership of the completed development is intended to be retained by Coombes Property Group and the building offered for lease. Mirvac is coordinating the project on behalf of Coombes Property Group.

Coombes Property Group acquired the 4,308sqm site in 2009 from Challenger Financial Services and in 2015 secured site-specific planning approval permitting greater height on the site subject to the provision of community benefits.

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