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Mirvac Harold Park revealed

12 Oct

Mirvac has finally lodged the DA plans at Sydney Council for their multi-residential redevelopment of the former Harold Park Paceway site at Forest Lodge.

The above rendering shows the Harold Park site with the thus far designed Precinct One (Mirvac Design) and Precinct Two (SJB Architects). Site masterplanning by Hassell and site landscape design by Aspect Studio.


The Site

First, let’s look at the site.

The site is divided into six precincts (to be built in phases). Each of these is effectively a single building, with a shared excavated carpark and two to four towers, and with a deep soil zone in the middle (DA requirement). Precinct Six is to be sold to another developer for student/essential service housing (DA condition). Precinct 4A to the north of the site has not been fully resolved- its traffic will be directed on to Maxwell Street and local residents are concerned.

There is also a park site (5.8 hectares (14 acres)) against the cliff. This, along with the roads, is to be ceded back to the City. It also forms the overland flow path for floods (very important on this site).

There is also the old Rozelle Tram Depot. This is to be developed as 7000sm of retail. Unfortunately, the parking for this has been placed in front of the depot (it would have been too expensive to put it under the Depot as council has asked for in the master plan).

Above- plan (Aspect) for one of the “pocket parks”. This links the existing Crescent roadway with one of the new site roadways. It allows for a significant (about 4m) level change.

Above- Hassell masterplan massing model. Note the six story buildings on the Crescent, stepping back to 8 story within the site. Sydney Council was strict about imposing building setbacks (delaying the DAs).

Above- an example of an existing recent Mirvac development at Rhodes.

Above- the site, 1948.

Above- the site, today. Quite a few more trees.

Precincts One and Two

Now, the good stuff.

Precinct One

Above- Site plan for Precinct One (Mirvac Design). There are “terrace houses” at street level, with traditional flats above (typical accross site). Four towers around a deep soil courtyard zone in the middle.

Above- P1 facade elevations.

Above- Computer rendering of Precinct One showing the pop-out windows.

Above- note that the top two levels step further in. This is part of the DCP and was insisted on by council.

Above- P1 shown in context on the site model.

Precinct Two

Above- Detail of the pocket park between the two P2 buildings as designed by Aspect. This is intended to blend seemlessly into the surrounding landscape and optimistically shows tall trees planted in very shallow beds.

Above- The P2 plans and elevations by SJB Architects.

Above- A section through one of the P2 buildings showing its relationship to the adjacent “heritage” cliff and existing house. The concept was that the top datum of the new buildings was not to rise above the roofline of the existing Victorian homes.

The Tram Depot

Above- the Tram Depot on the site will be converted to 7000m2 retail (possibly sold on to a separate developer).  It has sat empty and derlict since the 1980s. Trams ceased operating out of there in the 1950s.

Above- the entry area today.

Above- as it was in the 1950s.

Above- the interior today. There are a number of badly vandalised trams in there, some of which will be retained and restored.

Above- the proposed exterior (image- Loop Creative).

Above- the proposed interior (image- Loop Creative). Possibly to be used as a large green grocers store and/or gym.


This development will have a huge impact on the area. However, as Sydney marches towards 5 million people it is better to concentrate populations near the city.

If it can be done as sensitively as the old Children’s Hospital site up the road (on Pyrmont Bridge Road) then it will be a winner. We will wait and see.


Sydney's top urban exploration sites

5 Sep

My favourite urban exploration sites in Sydney at the moment-

Site One- Dunlop/Slazenger Factory in Alexandria
9 Bowden Street, Alexandria.
Open and easy to access.

We found all sorts of old Slazenger things- tennis racquets, golf balls, shoes, etc. A favourite haunt for film makers (there were two crews there, early on a Sunday morning).

Part of the vast Green Square area, soon to be luxury flats.

Look at my car!

The holes in the asbestos sheeting roof make for splendid effects.

Famous graffiti artists work.

Site Two- Rozelle Tram Depot.
South of Harold Park Raceway, next to Jubilee Oval, Glebe Point.

Rozelle Tram Depot is a large tram depot in Glebe that has stood effectively empty sine the 1960s.
It is currently being redeveloped as part of Mirvac Harold Park residential redevelopment and will be developed as a retail area.

The vandalised trams within will be retained on site and restored.
Currently patroled by security, as is now part of construction site. Quiet on Sundays.

This place is classic as the interior is slowly returning to nature, complete with ponds of tadpoles.

A local ruffian leaving his mark.


Site Three- Summer Hill Hospital
Grosvenor Centre, 56 Liverpool Road, Summer Hill (abandoned hospital).

Private property. Soon to be redeveloped into flats. Main building is heavily alarmed.
Summer Hill’s largest mansion, Carleton (now the Grosvenor Hospital’s main building), was built in the early 1880s on Liverpool Road for Charles Carleton Skarrat.

Definitely haunted…..

That ruffian again!

The above images were sent to me by anonymous sources.
The sites are (dangerous) private property and are not open to the public.

Mirvac aquires Harold Park- another billion dollar site!

10 Dec


10 December 2010

Mirvac Group (“Mirvac”) [ASX: MGR] is pleased to announce that the success of its
Development Division continues with the agreement today to acquire Harold Park Paceway,
Sydney, to be developed into a 1,200 lot masterplanned community, representing total
forecast revenue of over $1 billion.

Following on from the strong sales momentum at the Group’s recent project launches at
Waterfront Newstead ($27 million – presales), Yarra’s Edge, Docklands ($69 million –
presales), Rhodes Waterside, Sydney ($107 million – presales) and Endeavour 88, Sydney
($204 million – presales), Harold Park reinforces the Group’s development growth strategy.

Harold Park Paceway, home to the NSW Harness Racing Club, is located in Glebe,
approximately 2.5 kilometres from the Sydney CBD and comprises 10.6 hectares of
land. Harold Park benefits from the light rail which is located immediately adjacent to the
site providing direct link to Central Sydney.

Mirvac’s proposed scheme incorporates 1,200 medium density dwellings and will deliver
significant benefits to the local community including the dedication of 3.8 hectares of public
open space. Development of the site is expected to commence in early 2012, with
settlements forecast from financial year 2014.

The project will provide a significant boost to the local and state economies generating
approximately 3,500 direct jobs during construction.

Mirvac’s Managing Director, Nick Collishaw, said, “We are extremely excited about our
success in securing this prime site, as it is a clear fit with our core competencies.

“Mirvac’s ethos is to create great places for life which we have demonstrated for almost 40
years with an unparalleled ability to deliver integrated, generational masterplanned
communities. Key examples of these include Raleigh Park, and Walsh Bay in Sydney,
Beacon Cove in Melbourne and Waterfront Newstead in Brisbane,” Mr Collishaw said.

Source- Mirvac media release, December 10th, 2010.

Harold Park plan one third park

19 Jul

Local News16 Jul 10 @ 04:58pm by staff

More than a third of the Harold Park Paceway site in Glebe could become park under draft planning controls soon to be considered by Sydney Council.

The plans include 3.9 hectares of park with a sports field, walking paths and a cycle link to Johnston’s Creek and the Glebe foreshore.

Sydey Council’s CEO Monica Barone said the overwhelming request from locals was for parkland.

During extensive consultation the community told us they wanted improved local village facilities, new open space, protection for the historic Tram Sheds and opportunities for the development to be sustainable. This is what we hope to deliver,” Ms Barone said.Ms Barone said plans would allow for the restoration of the historic tram sheds and would allocate 500 sqm of floor space for community uses within the sheds.

Some 1,200 dwellings would be housed on the land, with at least 50 affordable housing units. Maximum height would be eight storeys, no higher than the cliff-top 2-3 storey terrace houses in Glebe.

The Council believes the plan balances community requests while helping the council to meet residential and worker targets set by the State Government.

Access to the Jubilee Park light rail station will be improved, giving residents a valuable and sustainable transport optionThe draft planning controls will be considered at Central Sydney Planning Committee on July 22 and by Council on July 26.
Locals will then have another chance to voice an opinion on the plans.
NSW Harness Racing Club Chief Executive John Dumesny told Cumberland Courier Newspapers that his organisation which owns the site could not accept the increased demand for open space.
“For the past few months we have been advised by the Council that the Club would have to provide new open space areas as part of the rezoning, which we were happy to assist with,” he said, “however this amount of space seems excessive to the needs of the area.”
The plans have also failed to impress the Greens. City of Sydney Greens Councillor Chris Harris told the Courier he would not be voting for the plans.
“I thought 1,000 apartments was already excessive,” Cr Harris said.
“I applaud the council’s efforts to improve the amount of public space, but I wouldn’t be trading this off with an overdevelopment.”


And they're leaving: Harold Park for sale

9 Mar

THE historic Harold Park track in Glebe, home to harness racing since 1902, will be sold, paving the way for the NSW Harness Racing Club to move its headquarters to south-western Sydney and leaving the huge inner-city site open for development reports John Schell with Alexandra Smith in the Sydney Morning Herald of October 27, 2008.

More than 300 members voted 90 per cent in favour of selling Harold Park at a specially convened meeting yesterday.

The club’s chief executive, John Dumesny, said the sale was subject to a minimum price being set at $150 million, and there were already “offers on the table” for the site. The University of Sydney is believed to be interested.

The university had hoped to build a harbourside campus for 5000 students at Callan Park in Rozelle, but its plans were scuttled last week when the Minister for Planning, Kristina Keneally, agreed to hand the heritage site to Leichhardt Council for use as public space. It is unclear whether the university has similar plans for Harold Park.

Mr Dumesny said the sale would take some time to complete. “Under the registered clubs act we still have to have it as an open tender,” Mr Dumesny said.

“There is a lot of planning work to go ahead. We expect the process to get to a position of sale may take as long as two years. We’ll see what the validity of those offers are, now that we are in a position to proceed,” Mr Dumesny said.

Menangle Park will eventually host all the club’s Friday night meetings held at Harold Park, including the Miracle Mile and the InterDominion series when it is in Sydney. Mr Dumesny said the club was “already well down the track” in plans to install racing lights at Menangle.


Brief History

The Harold Park Paceway comprises an 800m track, a 3000 seat grandstand and administration and parking facilities.

The former Rozelle Tram Depot includes a heritage listed Federation warehouse with saw-tooth roofed tram sheds, a large cast iron water tank and Federation period offices.

The site is approximately 10.54ha in size, and is located in Forest Lodge, and near to Glebe, Annandale and Leichhardt. It is bounded by Jubilee Park to the north, The Crescent and Minogue Crescent to the west and south west, Wigram Road to the south and Maxwell Road to the east.

History of the Site
Johnston’s Creek and Paceway Embankment
The area where Johnston’s Creek originally met Rozelle Bay was originally inhabited by the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora people. In 1827 the colony’s fi rst solicitor, George Allen, purchased the land around Rozelle Bay which was mainly used for the quarrying of sandstone and informal horseracing. The site was purchased by the Harness Racing Club in 1911, and by the 1960s, crowds of 50,000 would pack the stands to watch the races. The Rozelle Tram Depot operated on the site from 1904 to the 1960s.

Harold Park paceway development plan gets hearts racing
26 Feb 10 @ 02:43pm by Marie Sansom
TWO hundred people have met at St Scholastica’s College to discuss the new urban design study for Harold Park, the 10.5ha Glebe site the NSW Harness Club wants to sell.
Many were positive about plans for 2.7ha of public open space, a wildlife corridor, pedestrian and cycleways and adaptive reuse of the tramsheds.
However some people were concerned about building heights and densities, traffic and parking. The study, which is yet to be endorsed by Sydney Council or the Central Sydney Planning Committee, sets site planning controls that will govern what is built at Harold Park.
Glebe Society president Lesley Lynch said people were concerned about building heights, which ranged from three to eight storeys and rise above the cliff face.
“The way in which the core competing pressures, density and public space, have been balanced is not likely to gain widespread community support,” Dr Lynch said. “There was disappointment at the proportion of the site allocated for public space.”
Some groups wanted higher buildings along the spine of the site and not at the periphery.
Others feared the traffic that 1000 or more apartments and at least 9000sq m of retail and commercial space might generate.
“Many thought the building design was disappointingly unimaginative and uniform – almost as if a range of options had been computer generated,” Dr Lynch said.
Harold Park project manager Jeff Lord said the site was ideal for housing.
“Every home that goes on this site is one less that has to be built on the outskirts of Sydney where there is little or no public transport or infrastructure,” Mr Lord said.
John Dumesny of NSW Harness Racing said the club would not make a final decision on the sale until the land value was determined by new zoning controls.
“Any proposal for the site must deliver a reasonable return for the benefit of harness racing across the state, otherwise we will just stay put,” Mr Dumesny said.
The technical studies that went online yesterday covered transport and traffic, open space and community facilities, flooding and water sustainable urban design, heritage, urban design and economic analysis.
For details, visit


New suburb mooted for raceway
JOSEPHINE TOVEY SMH February 26, 2010

A HUGE slab of land zoned open space in Sydney’s inner-west could be transformed into a ”new suburb” under a draft plan by the City of Sydney that has excited developers and infuriated locals.

The council and the Central Sydney Planning Committee were given the responsibility of rezoning the Harold Park raceway, a block more than twice the size of the Carlton United Brewery site in Chippendale, after the NSW Harness Racing Club indicated to the state government it wanted to sell the land last year.

An early draft for the rezoning that went on public exhibition this week has the site supporting up to 1000 dwellings for about 1900 people, in buildings ranging from two to eight storeys high. The historic tram depot at the north of the site would be retained, but converted for retail, commercial and community use. About 25 per cent would remain open space.

The draft proposal, which has not yet been endorsed by council, was revealed at fervid public meetings last week.

Dr Lesley Lynch from the Glebe Society said people in neighbouring suburbs such as Annandale and Glebe felt eight-storey apartment blocks were inappropriate for the area, and that views could be lost and streets become clogged with traffic.

She said the development had ”enormous potential to be a disaster for the community if extravagant profit margins and high density imperatives are allowed to drive overdevelopment”.

Most existing houses in the immediate area are one to two storeys high.

The mayor of Leichhardt, Jamie Parker, whose municipality borders the site to the west, said the proposed development would be like ”dropping a new suburb” on the area. The site would hold almost the same population as neighbouring Forest Lodge.

But the NSW Harness Racing Club has said the proposed residential density was much lower than other urban infill sites in the area, such as the former Camperdown Children’s Hospital, which is up to 17 storeys high.

”We certainly don’t think Harold Park should go to these kinds of heights but the site can, responsibly, take a higher density than the plan suggests,” read a club statement.

The project manager appointed by the club, Jeff Lord, said their vision for more intensive redevelopment was in line with the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy: ”Every home that goes on this site is one less home that has to be built on the outskirts of Sydney where there is little or no public transport and other infrastructure.”

The City of Sydney said community consultation was ongoing and ”any final proposal will aim to protect residential amenity and respond to the local context”.