Wanda launches Sydney’s most expensive apartment

Wanda launches Sydney’s most expensive apartment

8 December 2017

Chinese real estate colossus Dalian Wanda Group is launching its latest luxury residential project in Sydney where agents expect the penthouse could break records with a sale price of up to AUD$60 million (US$46 million), reports the South China Morning Post.

The residential-hotel development, Wanda One Circular Quay, is among the tallest on the harbourfront at Circular Quay and will encompass two adjacent towers—a 59-storey luxury residential building and a 28-storey five-star hotel known as Wanda Vista.

Buyers in Hong Kong are being targeted as one of three key markets alongside London and Sydney, where Wanda hopes to initially sell 60 of the 190 apartments available.

The sale comes after intensified Chinese government scrutiny on Wanda’s finances. The real estate and entertainment conglomerate was recently forced to sell off part of its portfolio after concerns were raised about the amount of debt it had. The firm was also forced to pull out of its purchase of Nine Elms Square in London following pressure from Beijing over its overseas investments.

A two-bedroom unit of Wanda One Sydney would start from AUD$5.5 million, said Madelaine Lundgren, sales and marketing director for the development.

“The project is targeted towards the ultra-high net worth market,” or those with US$30 million or more to invest, she said.

“Our vision was to create an offering that has never been seen before in Australia.”

She declined to confirm the expected price for the penthouse, or its size. Industry insiders said the development would put the city on par with London and New York in terms of price.

Kerry Hill, the founder of Kerry Hill Architects, says One Circular Quay is conceived as an elegant tower. “The building turns its broad face towards the north-east to maximise the iconic views across the Opera House and Harbour Bridge,” Hill says.

“The tower is expressed as an articulated rectangular volume. Clad with a delicate glass skin, it hovers above Herald Square, addressing the scale of the city skyline.”

“Wanda One Sydney is located at a critical edge between the urban fabric of the city and the civic space of Circular Quay,” Hill says.

“The penthouse at Wanda is expected to cost up to AUD$60 million,” said Ivy Xiao, director of AC Property Group, which advises Chinese buyers in Australia. “Looking at that price, it is likely to be the most expensive apartment in Sydney.”

The previous record for the most expensive apartment went to the penthouse in the Opera Residences Development, also on the Sydney Harbour, which sold for about AUD$26 million – half the expected price for the penthouse in the Wanda development. Wanda One Circular Quay is also likely to blow away Melbourne’s Sapphire by the Gardens penthouse pricing. 

Justin Brown, chairman of CBRE residential projects, describes One Circular Quay as the first super-prime development in Australian history.

“It will be considered in the same context as the leading developments in London, New York and Hong Kong, with the premier dress-circle location on Sydney’s Circular Quay,” Brown says.

Demand for homes at Circular Quay is at an all-time high, according to CBRE, with only about 800 apartments in the area and extremely limited opportunities for future development. Two recent projects, Opera Residences (by Macrolink and Landream) and Loftus Lane (from developer AMP Capital), sold out within hours.

“This is the strongest part of the CBD market,” Brown says. “We see this trend continuing.”

Yet, Australia’s biggest property market shows signs of cooling. Sydney’s housing prices fell for a second month in October, as regulatory curbs on loans favoured by property investors start to bite in the world’s second-most expensive housing market, according to data from CoreLogic.

In Australia, soaring prices have made housing affordability a huge political issue, leading authorities to limit sales of new developments to foreign buyers and joining a growing list of nations trying to clamp down on these purchases.

Lundgren said these would not dampen interest in the development.

“This product is its own market,” she said. “It’s at the very highest end. It’s affected less by general market forces.”

PTW Architects is the executive architect for the entire One Circular Quay precinct, which is being developed by Wanda One Sydney, a fully owned entity of Wanda Group. Crone Architects and acclaimed Tokyo studio Kengo Kuma & Associates are designing the hotel element. The lead design architect for the residential component is Kerry Hill Architects, led by Kerry Hill, AO.

The development is expected to be completed in mid-2022.