Sydney developer Dyldam is on track to close the sale of the mixed-use site – set to become the centre of the future new township of St Leonards in Sydney's lower north shore – to another local developer JQZ for about $300 million.
The sale of the 4500 square metres site at 88 Christie Street, earmarked for the public square "St Leonards Plaza", has taken about six months and, in that time, has attracted a wide mix of high-profile local and international developers, including Meriton, Mirvac and Greenland.
It is understood JQZ, which has $3.5 billion in residential projects and is led by founder Jian Qiu Zhang, beat several parties to the site that can yield 777 apartments in a 45-storey tower with retail and amenities.
Dyldam, which focuses mainly on western Sydney projects, made a windfall of more than $100 million from the sale, although the group has added significant value to the site since scooping it up from Garry Rothwell's Winten Property Group last year for $175 million.
Renders of the future St Leonards Plaza Supplied
Winten was able to rezone 88 Christie Street when it owned the site and in 2012 secured a plan for an 18-storey, 31,000sq m commercial complex.
After a protracted process, Dyldam bought the site from Winten and acquired all the retail and commercial buildings along Christie Street, Lithgow Street and Pacific Highway to secure a full block. It now has a gazettal approval for a mix of apartments, a plaza, a library and 3000sq m in retail space, including a supermarket.
JQZ will still have to submit a development application for the site, which has a PTW Architects designed scheme.
The significance of the site is its anchor location in the 20-hectare St Leonards South masterplan, which is undergoing a residential boom and has also resulted in amalgamated sales of low-density homes to apartment developers.
It is also directly opposite St Leonards station.
Country Garden, Greaton, Poly and Hong Kong-listed Top Spring International Holdings have acquired amalgamated sites in the area. It is understood Top Spring was also in the mix of bidders for 88 Christie Street.
Stamped their presence
Mirvac and the development pair of New Hope and VIMG stamped their presence in the precinct early on with two major residential developments. Mirvac is developing St Leonards Square and New Hope/VIMG is developing The Landmark.
Loftex is also building The Embassy apartments close by at 1 Marshall Avenue.
All these developments wrap around 88 Christie Street, making it a suitable public thoroughfare for future residents.
JQZ, which now joins the pack, is launching the second phase of its Prime apartment project in Macquarie Park this weekend. Macquarie Park, like St Leonards, is also experiencing a residential boom.
The Australian Financial Review contacted Dyldam but the company was not able to provide a comment.
The Financial Review also called JQZ and the marketing agents, CBRE's Ben Wicks, Colliers International's Matthew Meynell and Ray White's Jeff Moxham, but they could not be reached.