Elizabeth Bay residents object to $230m Fortis development

Residents of one of Australia’s wealthiest suburbs are revolting against a proposed $230 million development that would tear down a 1960s apartment block and replace it with luxury units.

Dozens of residents and neighbors of apartments on Billyard Ave and Onslow St in Elizabeth Bay, eastern Sydney, met with the NSW Land and Environment Court this week to express their anger at developer Fortis’ plan to transform the block of 28 units.

Warren Fahey AM of the Potts Point Preservation Group said the proposal would be “detrimental” to the area’s built heritage and the cohesion of its community.

“It’s not the most significant building, but in our area you have to understand that there is only 1km that encompasses Elizabeth Bay, Potts Point and Kings Cross, and we are losing housing at a frightening rate,” he told ABC radio. on Thursday.

“There doesn’t seem to be anyone in the state or city who is jumping to attention to help us, so the residents have risen in spirits and are protesting.”

The City of Sydney rejected the development application, but Fortis appealed the decision to the Land and Environment Court.

Fahey said he and other upset community members were not opposed to all types of development, but to what he called “unnecessary development,” and noted that the development would degrade housing supply by reducing the number of units to 22 .

He said there are five district attorneys in the area and if all were approved, the total number of apartments would drop from 174 to 73.

“That’s a 56% loss,” he said.

“But no beds, no studios.

“If we continue to become a yuppie kingdom, we will eliminate all the interesting parts of the history of this area, including the young and old, who simply can’t afford to spend millions on apartments and that’s what’s happening before.” our eyes.”

Fahey also criticized the style and technical aspects of Fortis’ proposal.

“It has too much height, too much bulk, too little size, not enough failures and frankly it lacks any design excellence,” he said.

“It is harmful to the area. We don’t believe that solid buildings from the ’60s, ’70s and ’50s should be demolished just so some developer can build luxury apartments on them.”

“We want streetscapes to remain more or less as they are. We are not against development. We are simply against unnecessary development and do not want the social fabric to be changed in such a way that young and old people cannot afford to live here.”

The court has the power to overturn council decisions on developments, but Fahey suggested community anger was gaining ground in the battle over the block.

A Fortis spokesperson said the developer would continue to engage with the community on the project.

“The community is at the heart of our work and we remain open to addressing issues as they arise,” the spokeswoman said.

“We always consider relevant feedback and work with the local community and planning authorities to achieve the best development outcomes for each location.”

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