Monday, 13 April 2015

Filling the city's holes in the Ground: Victoria Towers (1996)

From time to time, I'm going to look at the sites in central Sydney that were abandoned during the recession of 1990-91 when the property market in Sydney collapsed. This led to the cancellation of a number of developments. It would take some sites up to fifteen years to be developed.

One of those holes in the ground in the early 1990's was the site of the Sydney Catholic Club at 199 Castlereagh Street in the city. The original Catholic Club building had been demolished in 1989.


Victoria Tower november 6 1993 daily telegraph 14 

Source: Skelsey, M. 1993. "$100m tower to boost city living." The Daily Telegraph, November 6: 14. 

In September 1993, property developer Leda Holdings was given approval by Sydney City Council to construct a 39 level apartment tower, rising to 120 metres above street level. The building would contain 252 apartments plus a rebuilt Sydney Catholic Club (now known as the Castlereagh Club). It was one of the first high rise apartment towers approved in the 1990's for central Sydney and would set a precedent for future high rise residential tower development. Residents also had access to the latest trends in residential facilities for its time including a gym, pool and 24 hour concierge service. 

As the above article from The Daily Telegraph mentions from November 1993, Leda wanted to "cash in" on the trend towards high rise living, particularly as Sydney's CBD lacked apartments despite high demand from business executives and overseas investors. At time, only 6000 people were reported to be residing in central Sydney. Meanwhile Sydney City Council wanted to entice people to live in the city to help it become more lively and dynamic but, also to fill in those empty holes in the ground. It was a win-win for all. Apartments went on sale in early 1994 with construction underway not so long afterwards. The tower was completed in 1996. Below is an advertisement advertising apartments for sale in mid 1994. Apartments were on sale from $219 000.


Source: Leda Holdings Limited. 1994. "Victoria Tower (Advertisement)." The Sydney Morning Herald, June 12: 129. 

Last week, yours truely went into the city and managed to take two photos of the building.