Despite some cooling in Sydney’s off-the-plan property market, one development that ‘dares to be different’ has proven the exception, recording strong sales.
The eye-catching ‘skybridge’ project at Wentworth Point – officially known as ONE The Waterfront – sold all 100 apartments it released over the weekend. The transparent pedestrian skybridge linking two rooftop parks 30 metres above the ground captivated buyers, literally elevating interest in the development above competing stock.
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The walkway and bicycle bridge will give residents a dramatic – albeit potentially unnerving – experience as they cross the 20 metres between twin nine-storey buildings.
The 100 one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments sold for between $641,000 and $958,000 through the marketing group, LINK Realty, for developer PietyTHP.
“This is a pleasing result considering the heat has come out of the market,” said Basil Klevansky, Managing Director of LINK Realty. “There are so many off-the-plan developments in Sydney at the moment that buyers need to be convinced yours is different, better, and good value.
“Besides the skybridge and the rooftop attractions, ONE The Waterfront offers smart technology, an all-seasons living room, good views, and a residents-only club with a sports bar, a dining room, a 20-seat indoor cinema and a concierge service.
“ONE The Waterfront is the premier location at Wentworth Point, and the apartments are the result of 15 years of resident feedback and design experience so they will be the highest quality created here. On average the one-bedrooms are 15 percent larger and the two-bedrooms 25 percent larger than competing apartments at Wentworth Point.”
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Mr Klevansky has seen the peaks and troughs of the Sydney property market over the past 20 years as a developer and a realtor, and rates current sentiment as “normal”.
“The market had become overheated and thousands of lesser quality apartments sold without buyers doing their research and due diligence,” he said. “This led to many inexperienced people joining the real estate industry and making money by being little more than order-takers.
“Now that the market has returned to more normal conditions these order-takers will be shed and only the truly professional agents will remain. The buyers will still be there, but they will be much more discerning and take their time to make decisions.
“Realtors are going to have to return to working harder for their sales, and developers are going to have to embrace innovative design and quality, which is a good thing.”
ONE The Waterfront will contain 273 apartments in five buildings on the corner of Bennelong Parkway and Hill Road. The quadrant-shaped 25,000sqm site marks the entry to Wentworth Point, which is strategically located between the CBDs of Sydney and Parramatta, and currently home to some 6,000 residents.
The pet-friendly ONE The Waterfront has been designed by eminent architect Frank Stanisic. It will feature two sky parks totalling 1,400sqm – one with a rooftop cinema; the other with barbecue and picnic facilities. Spanning the two will be a sturdy two-metre wide skybridge flanked by high glass screens.
It is believed the skybridge is an architectural first for an Australian residential complex, although Stanisic thinks the concept will catch on, particularly in developments utilising rooftops for communal activity.
“The skybridge is part of a bigger picture idea of providing a necklace of open aerial space,” said Mr Stanisic. “It acts as a physical connection between buildings and also as a social connection between residents.”
The skybridge will be fabricated off-site of steel beams with concrete poured over the robust formwork to form a platform. A timber floor will be added, the glass balustrades affixed from the inside onto fine steel posts, and the bridge will be hoisted into position as the two buildings near completion.
“The views from the skybridge will be spectacular, ranging from the harbour to the Olympic Stadium,” said Mr Stanisic. “The bridge will move ever so slightly in certain weather conditions, and the experience of walking or riding a bicycle over it will be exhilarating rather than scary.”
However, for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground there will be a 5,000sqm park encircled by a running track, containing a children’s playground, fitness stations, gardens, relaxation zones, and barbecue areas including a pizza oven.
Completing the vision
ONE The Waterfront will complete the vision of a Mediterranean village at Wentworth Point which has evolved since the year 2000. At its heart is The Piazza, which replicates the cobblestone charm of an Italian town square.
“We’ve created a dynamic collection of buildings with open spaces that offer great social amenity to further enhance the experience of living at The Waterfront,” said Mr Stanisic.
“The rich, visual nature of the architecture comes to life with clear and bronze glazing, gold-finished louvres, and bronze metallic framing that animate the façade. As the light changes throughout the day the buildings will take on different expressions.”
The interiors, by Turner, feature the latest home automation and fibre optic technology, and come in two internal schemes, ‘Twilight’ and ‘Dusk’.
“Each scheme is blended with highly varnished and matte surfaces, made all the more radiant by threads of gold,” said Angus Henderson of Turner. “Metallic accents, sophisticated LED lighting and the latest Bosch appliances ramp up the glamour quotient,” he said.
One of the internal design features is an ‘All Seasons living room’ which acts as an extension to the living spaces. Tinted glass and louvered windows can fold out to respond to various weather conditions.
The ‘All Seasons living room’ is favoured by Stanisic because it allows occupants to passively control the heating and cooling of their apartments. “In winter the room becomes a cosy extension of the indoor space, while in summer it can be opened to allow light, air and the outdoors in,” he said.
The cleverly-configured floorplans provide well-proportioned rooms with inventive storage solutions to make the most of the space, while careful acoustic planning guarantees occupants a serene environment.
All apartments come with security basement car parking and a storage cage. Quarterly strata levies are estimated to be $600-$740 and $780-$965 respectively for the one and the two-bedroom apartments.
The NSW Government has designated Wentworth Point as a suburb of State significance and has upgraded the ferry wharf and increased services, which now run every 30 minutes in peak times between Circular Quay and Parramatta. A bridge spanning 400 metres over Homebush Bay is scheduled to open in February, linking Wentworth Point to Rhodes and its train station. A light rail service is proposed to link Wentworth Point to Westmead and Strathfield, while road upgrades include widening the M4 and adding an on-ramp from Hill Road, as well as improving vehicle access into the suburb.
Further additions over the next 18 months include a primary school with playing fields, a 3.9-ha peninsula park, a luxury marina, wide cycling and walking paths, and a waterfront promenade running the length of the suburb.
“Wentworth Point is on a peninsular so there is no through traffic, ensuring it is quieter and less congested than most Sydney suburbs,” said Mr Klevansky.
“It provides a relaxed lifestyle along a grand stretch of water, with parklands for residents to unwind, walkways shaded by palm trees, shops for essential services and casual browsing, and sidewalk cafes where you can pause and watch the passing parade of craft.
“Whilst you have Sydney's famed maritime lifestyle at your front door your 'backyard' comprises the State’s finest sporting and entertainment venues, 430-hectares of parklands and 35 kilometres of bike tracks.”
Construction of ONE The Waterfront is expected to start in April, 2016, with all five buildings scheduled for completion in October, 2018.