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Channel 9: Watch that site!

The Channel 9 site in Willoughby has been purchased by listed property developer Charter Hall Limited. While the price for the 3 hectares has not been confirmed, on 10 January the North Shore Times speculated that it exceeded $150 million. The sale did not include the transmission tower which is owned by TX Australia.

In its December press release, David Southon, Charter Hall's Joint Managing Director said "We are excited to be granted the right to negotiate the acquisition of both properties and proceed with the planning and development." Charter Hall also purchased the Channel 9 site located in Richmond, Melbourne. Mr Southon described the site as a quality residential offering in a well established suburb and an "outstanding infill residential development opportunity".

The iconic Willoughby landmark has become part of Charter Hall's Opportunity Fund No 5 (CHOF 5). Charter Hall is reported to have said it wishes to develop the site for medium-density housing as well as some retail and commercial use.

In the North Shore Times, Council's General Manager, Nick Tobin, described the sale as an opportunity for urban renewal. He said Council wanted Charter Hall's plans for the site to have West Artarmon's 21st century-style, ecologically sustainable design, housing for the elderly, community and education facilities, a playing field and green linkages, but was opposed to a 'large retail presence'.

Council has unanimously adopted a resolution, proposed by Councillor Thompson, that recognises the opportunity the site presents for urban renewal. The resolution advocates removal of the transmission tower - which now appears unlikely - and confirms Council's interest in creating a masterplan for the site with particular mention of the provision of playing fields and green corridors.

Residents interested in the way the site will be developed will now need to watch the progress of the development application through Council. Channel Nine will not quit the site before the end of 2009 and it could well be another year after that before redevelopment is underway.

By Glenda Hewitt
Updated 15 February 2008


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