Poly walks away from St Leonards site

Poly walks away from St Leonards site

16 August 2019

Poly Australia — the Australian arm of Poly Global which is headquartered in Hong Kong — has walked away from options to buy an $80 million piece of an amalgamated apartment development site in the controversial St Leonards South precinct in Sydney’s lower north shore.

Poly decided not to proceed with plans to buy 19 houses in one line to form a 7414sq m site between Berry and Park Roads. The move came late last month, just before the Independent Planning Commission NSW offered advice to the NSW government that could ultimately kill a longstanding planning proposal that would have allowed developers to build to a height of 65 metres.

The commission said the St Leonards South precinct plans – bounded Park Road, the Pacific Highway, Marshall Avenue, River Road and Canberra Avenue – was at odds with the state’s larger St Leonards and Crows Nest 2036 Plan. St Leonards South may cause an “overdevelopment” in the area.

Poly said the delay had already lasted four years and combined with heavy contributions the project was increasingly unviable.

It was a race to get large sites like these in St Leonards after Lane Cove council released the St Leonards South residential precinct plan to revitalise the area and rezone low-rise into high rise sites just over three years ago.

Developers like Country Garden, JQZ, Loftex and Mirvac all circled the area for the best amalgamated sites involving long-drawn processes to get owners to sell their homes in one line.

Country Garden and Greaton, in particular, bought their sites outright without options.

To make matters worse, in June, Lane Cove council became the first council in NSW to escape having to comply with fast tracking medium density housing in low density areas.

Developer lobby group Urban Taskforce’s Chris Johnson said developers and home sellers were duped by the council’s heavily advertised development plans and described it as “a scandal”.

“These people have been given false hopes and an impression the masterplan will go ahead.”

“The advice by the Independent Planning Commission has put such a negative spin on the masterplan that it will be impossible to get it up.”

Many home owners have also gone on to buy other homes and moved out of the area on the premise of their homes being sold, Mr Johnson said.

He said if the precinct plans fall through these groups could seek compensation. With 120 houses on a $4 to $6 million premium each, the claims may be staggering, Mr Johnson said.

“Our industry is often about managing risk. We crave certainty to try to reduce our risk. Having clear planning requirements and an understanding of the changes is vital,” a Poly spokesman said.