Could one of our oldest heritage sites soon have a 10-storey tower block looming over it? Ben Chenoweth reports.
A piece of prime real estate in Campbelltown — on the corner of Cordeaux Street and the Moore Oxley Bypass — was sold on Thursday for more than $4 million.
While the news was welcomed by the previous owners, the Baird state government, the principal of the neighbouring school has been left bitterly disappointed.
The listing on realcommercial.com.au by Colliers International said the 2445-square-metre site, previously used as a health centre and located next door to St Peter's Anglican Church and St Peter's Anglican Primary School, was zoned for dwellings up to 10 storeys high.
Real estate agent Adrian Balderston said the winning bidder had already signalled intention to develop the site into a mix of retail and residential.
"The bottom floor has to be offices or retail but it can be residential above," he said. "It has a 32-metre [10-storey] height limit."
St Peter's Anglican Primary School principal Brendan Gorman said the school had unsuccessfully tried for years to negotiate a sale with the NSW government.
"Being a site with over 600 children, any opportunity to acquire the limited surrounding land for the purposes of the school would have been appreciated," he said. "Despite the NSW government and Sydney South West Area Health Service being aware of our interest since as early as 2005, their policy meant the sale needed to go to public auction and be divested at market rate."
Given the school's close proximity to the site and the heritage value of land surrounding 28 Cordeaux Street, Mr Gorman said a 10-storey development "would not be appropriate".
St Peter's Anglican Church's Reverend Nigel Fortescue said the church sold the site to the health service in the 1970s and had also unsuccessfully tried to buy it back on several occasions — dating back to October, 1988.
While Mr Fortescue said he was not in favour of a 10-storey development, he was willing to work with the new owner to generate a good outcome for all parties.
Mr Balderston said he was surprised by the sale price.
"I didn't think [it would go for that much], we were expecting around $2.5 million," he said.
"There were nine bidders and it was a bit of a crazy auction. There were three developers who went very strong."
The agent said recent sales in Campbelltown had benefited from a "shortage of sites around Sydney at the moment".
"We had a sale on the other [western] side of the railway line which isn't even rezoned for residential [yet]," he said. "The property was expected to go for about $6 million, it sold for $16 million."