The influx of Chinese developers into Sydney has raised questions about the quality of the apartments they will deliver, but Ausbao’s recently completed The Quay at Haymarket goes a long way to providing the answer.
Seamlessly blending the old with the new, the $300-Million residential and retail development at 61-79 Quay Street gives Chinatown two world-class buildings, with Frank Gehry’s avant-garde creation for the UTS Business School just across the road.
The Quay was developed by Ausbao Pty Ltd, which is the Australian subsidiary of the Beijing Capital Development Holdings Group. BCDHG is Beijing’s largest property developer, constructing more than eight million square metres of property each year countrywide.
Completion of The Quay fulfils the potential of the prominent site, which lay dormant for 25 years. From 1912 to the 1950s it was the thriving poultry section of Paddy’s Market before it was turned into a retail warehouse. The building burnt down in 1985, but luckily a corner section of the facade was saved and preserved, albeit propped-up by steel supports.
Ausbao purchased the site in September, 2009 and held a design competition. The winning scheme, by WMK Architecture, was granted 10% ‘bonus’ floorspace by the City Of Sydney Council because of its environmental initiatives, design excellence and clever response to re-activating the public spaces.
The remnant warehouse facade was sympathetically incorporated into The Quay, helping to provide an historical context at street level. Here 17 shops and service providers now operate, plus anchor tenants Woolworths and the specialist Asian supermarket, Tong Li, as well as China’s most famous traditional Chinese medicine shop –Tong Ren Tang.
“The Quay gave us an exciting opportunity to showcase best practices in architecture, interior design, construction and sensitive planning,” said the Managing Director of Ausbao, Gavin Zhang. “It is at the forefront of sustainable city living and was awarded a 4-Star Green Energy rating.”
The Quay sold the majority of its 286 apartments off-the-plan, and these early buyers have enjoyed a handsome capital gain. Ausbao held back a handful of the apartments which it will release to the market shortly.
“We’ve had a lot of enquiry for stock in the building because the apartments have turned out even better than anyone had imagined,” said Mr Zhang. “We were meticulous across all stages, from conception to careful selection of partners and suppliers, and the outcome has exceeded all expectations.
“The word has spread throughout the industry and many developers from overseas have inspected our apartments to gain an insight into the quality that Sydney residents now expect, what local planning authorities require, and how to conduct a successful sales and marketing campaign.”
The Managing Director of CBRE Residential Project Marketing, David Milton, says the popularity of The Quay is due to its high quality, excellent design, exciting location and convenience to public transport. “It is close to markets, cafes, theatres, boutiques, galleries, museums, bars, designer shops, fashion outlets, colleges, recreational amenities, parks and the harbor,” Mr Milton said.
Further activating the precinct will be the highly-anticipated Goods Line, a 500-metre corridor to Darling Harbour which is due to open in a couple of months.
The Quay has two sleek metallic towers – one 17-levels and the other 16-storeys – each with a dazzling private foyer befitting a six-star hotel. Architects WMK describe The Quay as “an urban resort”, with a communal north-facing terrace garden connecting the two towers, and a large indoor-outdoor gymnasium.
Most apartments have balconies with floor-to-ceiling operable louvres which enhance the layered appearance of the facade, enable residents to look out from their living areas at Darling Harbor and the city with added privacy, and create an indoor-outdoor living space.
The interiors were crafted by Smart Design Studio, setting new quality standards with limestone floors in all living spaces, kitchens, bathrooms and balconies, ‘floating’ joinery, massive island benches, chamfered ceilings and LED lighting.
Just like the custom-designed interiors, the two foyers at The Quay are unlike anything previously seen in a Sydney residential building. Created by specialist hotel design firm CHADA to a six-star standard, they have cavernous spaces, internally-lit panels, reflective surfaces, oversized feature lights.
“From the moment residents enter the building they appreciate the extra lengths to which we have gone to make them feel at home,” said Mr Zhang. “Socially, the exciting aspect of The Quay for us is that adds another layer of attractions to living in this vibrant southern end of the CBD.”
Ausbao is well into the planning for another world-class residential building nearby, at 286 Sussex Street, appointing Tzannes Associates as the first stage design architects. “We delivered what we promised with The Quay, and we will continue to provide quality apartments to the Sydney market,” Mr Zhang said.