Demand for towers soars as Sydneysiders embrace high life.
The shift to high-rise apartment living has accelerated with developers responding to the growing demand from Sydneysiders for vertical villages and super-tall residential towers.
SOURCE | news.com.au | Toby Johnstone
New research by the City of Sydney shows that the number of residential towers completed or proposed since 2010 is already greater than the whole preceding decade.
”This is not happening because developers think it would it be nice to have a taller building,” said Chris Johnson, head of developer lobby group Urban Taskforce. ”It is because there is a market out there of people who want to be urban dwellers and feel connected.”
Mr Johnson said Sydney was on the verge of another ”vertical jump”.
Whereas the 1990s saw the rise of Darlinghurst and Bondi Junction and the post-2000 decade was dominated by Chatswood and St Leonards, this decade will see the further growth of Rhodes and Olympic Park as well as an emerging high-rise corridor between the central business district and the airport.
The CBD will be getting three new towers at Barangaroo as well as the Chinese-funded 240-metre tower on Bathurst Street while expressions of interest will soon be open for the O’Farrell government’s plan for high rise along the Central to Eveleigh rail corridor.
Sydneysiders have shown a growing affinity for apartments with 27.6 per cent living in units as of the most recent census, up from 23.9 per cent in 2001.
But in the city demand for apartments with harbour views has raged for more than a century. In 1900, Sydney’s tallest residential building was just four storeys high. Even so, an article at the time in The Freeman’s Journal said that Steven’s Tenement Building in Dawes Point had ”extensive views of Balmain, Mosman, North Shore and Manly”.
Over the next half century Sydney’s skyline was constrained by a 46-metre height limit that was enforced until 1957 – the height that fire fighters’ hoses could reach. Today to get good views you have to go much higher.
That is why Viktoria Maksymova and husband Slava decided to live in World Tower on Liverpool Street; at 230 metres it is Sydney’s tallest residential building. ”The view is very beautiful from the 43rd level, to see the line of the horizon is wonderful,” Ms Maksymova said.
When the couple moved to Australia from Ukraine two years ago they were amazed by the lack of apartments.
”I absolutely was surprised because in my country apartment living is very popular,” she said.
”The suburbs seem like a zombie land, when it gets to 6pm there is no one on the streets and by 9pm everyone is asleep.”
Though inner-city living isn’t cheap, concedes Ms Maksymova, with the median rent of World Tower $650 a week, according to Australian Property Monitors.
Despite the pricey nature of the CBD, Mr Johnson said promoting greater density and height, where appropriate, was the key to solving the housing shortage. ”It is the clearest path forward,” he said.
This week, the state government postponed what NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell called “the most significant reform of the state’s planning laws in more than 30 years”, which could also facilitate quicker approval for residential towers. But the proposal is not without its critics.
A spokesman for Redfern-Waterloo community group REDWatch, Geoff Turnbull, is concerned the community will have only one opportunity to have its say about proposals for new buildings.
”There needs to be discussion about how to build the necessary community facilities that will provide amenity with density.”