The NSW government’s Landcom has sold a hectare of prime bushland in Sydney for just $41k to shopping centre developers but has declined to respond to questions about the number of people at the auction. Callum Foote reports.
Last month, the NSW Government’s land and property developer Landcom sold a hectare of bushland in Sydney’s Shire for just $41k. The median house price for the area is $1.4 million, with the sale going to shopping centre developer Revelop.
The land, a full hectare or the size of almost two football fields, is next to the Jannali Public School and St George and Sutherland Community College – less than a kilometre from the Woronora River and importantly less than a kilometre from the Jannali train station.
The block is currently zoned as C2 Environmental conservation and as such, cannot be redeveloped in such a way “that could destroy, damage or otherwise have an adverse effect on the “high ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic values” of the site.
Although not zoned for commercial property development, at least yet, the Jannali bushland property is just half an hour’s drive, or 31k, from the Sydney CBD and 20 minutes from the beach.
According to the website Real Commercial: “Buyer’s Agent Tas Costi of Costi Cohen has secured for a client 10,270 sqm of land in the Sutherland Shire at auction for just $41,000 – that’s around 5 per cent of the median value of a Sydney home.”
Treetop adventure tour!
According to Real Commercial, managing director of the buying group Revelop, Charbel Hazzouri, said his company was eyeing the short-term and long-term potential of the property. The company is considering some recreational opportunities for the land, in accordance with its C2 Environmental Conservation zoning, such as zip line canopy tours through the forested property with established operator Treetops Adventure.
Revelop, co-owned by cousins Charbel Hazzouri and Anthony El-Hazouri, is behind a number of Sydney property developments in the retail and commercial property space.
Last year, Revelop purchased the Tramsheds retail and food complex in Sydney’s inner-west from Mirvac for $52 million. It then paid more than $30 million for a shopping centre in Macquarie Park.
While historically Revelop has bought older shopping centres in order to refurbish them, Hazzouri told the AFR last year that his company was now increasingly moving into greenfield site developments servicing major residential growth areas. “The big thing we’re doing at the moment is town centre developments,” Hazzouri said. The bushland at Jannali is definitely greenfields.
Revelop has at least 19 retail holdings and owns more than 40 childcare centres and a co-living business. From publicly available materials it appears that Revelop has not been involved in a zip line canopy tour facilities.
Other land around Jannali train station has already been rezoned within the last two years with an interest in increasing the density of the area. The Sutherland Shire Council’s 2020 Housing Strategy says that the area around Jannali train station has been rezoned to increase the allowable height and increase the area zoned for flats and townhouses.
Additionally, the NSW government committed during the election to increase the land around train stations to allow higher-density housing.
Hills Shire Council general manager Michael Edgar recently called on the government to “act directly” by ordering Landcom to build dwellings itself rather than just offload land to developers.
“In the council’s view, the NSW government could instruct Landcom to get on with the job of building and supplying these homes now rather than letting the economic conditions of the market determine their delivery timeframe” Edgar said.
Landcom has traditionally been involved in the planning of residential developments before selling land and project to a developer.
“Landcom stages land releases of master-planned communities in line with relevant approvals, construction, and market conditions,” a spokesperson said.