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Gazette Article

PBL's $206m Ch9 project - work in progress

The owner of Channel 9, PBL Media Pty Ltd, in January lodged a proposal for a $206m, 663-dwelling redevelopment of its 2.9ha site in Willoughby, which one resident claims will create Sydney's most densely populated block.

PBL Media, which is in the early stages of investigating options for the long term future of its television broadcasting studios, has lodged an initial application with the NSW Department of Planning to authorise preparation of a concept plan for the redevelopment. PBL Media hopes the development of a concept plan will enable it to understand potential development options and seek council and community feedback.

No decision has been made on the future of the site. What has been proposed is mainly a work in progress and community members will be asked for their input.

At this stage the proposed project would include:

  • A gross floor area of 66,600sq m - 66,000sq m for residential and 600sq m for retail.
  • Building heights ranging from two to five storeys along Richmond Avenue and Artarmon Rd and 16-20 storeys in the central part of the site, accommodating about 663 dwellings
  • Car parking for residents and visitors
  • Communal and public open space across about half the site and the public open space to be dedicated to council.

NSW Minister for Planning Tony Kelly said: "The proposal will be assessed under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, because it meets the non-discretionary criteria to be considered a major project, as it is a residential-retail development with a capital investment value of more than $100m."

"The DoP has already indicated it has concerns over the proposed density and height of the development and the proposed retention of the communications tower on the site."

Brendan Bond, a nearby resident, estimates the project will create record density for a Sydney development at 457 dwellings per hectare. He has written to Minister Kelly, Liberal member for Willoughby Gladys Berejiklian; NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell, the DoP and Willoughby councillors, voicing his concern at the proposed density for the site, which he considers to be "grossly out of step with the area" and the adverse impact on local infrastructure and public transport. He said many young families in the area were also concerned about the additional pressure on Edward, Lucknow and Hector streets used as "rat runs" on the way to Chatswood.

Artarmon Gazette understands Willoughby City Council is putting together a 10-12-member resident working committee in the lead up to the redevelopment.

In December 2010, councillors, senior council staff and community members attended a briefing that Brookfield Multiplex conducted on the proposed project. A number of issues were discussed, specifically the appropriate use of the site, traffic and local community impacts, the need for extensive community consultation and the future of the communication's tower.

Apparently, at this stage, the communication's tower will stay. The tower is jointly owned by channels 7, 9 and 10. Because of extremely high relocation costs, likely to be tens of millions of dollars, moving it is not financially viable.

PBL Media has engaged Elton Consulting to co-ordinate the community consultation process and has indicated it is committed to working closely with WCC and the local community throughout the process.

The APA will bring you details about the community consultation process and the methods by which you can make your views known as soon as this information becomes available.

A starting date for the planning process will be determined once DoP have issued the directors general's requirements.

by Michelle Sloane

Courtesy of Gazette February 2011
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Channel 9 site - 663-dwelling redevelopment





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