Construction Group Built Submit DA for Heritage-Listed Clarence Street Building


Private construction group Built has submitted a development application for the site at 183-185 Clarence Street, Sydney for a commercial office building with ground floor retail and function premises.

The application proposes restoration works to the existing substation and warehouse buildings, construction of a six-storey addition with communal rooftop space, and excavation for 2 basement levels to provide a commercial office development with retail and arts/cultural space at lower ground and ground floor.

Built acquired the disused 1000 square metre site last year for $22.5 million from Vietnam-based Vingroup.

After acquiring the site in January, managing director Brett Mason said that Built had been in the market for five years trying to find a site to redevelop for the company's own use.

"This truly unique site contains the sort beautiful heritage buildings we are used to working with, and we look forward to continuing our expansion by anchoring our own building, as well as showcasing the very highest standard of refurbishment," Mason said in the Australian Financial Review.

Construction is expected to cost $49 million.


Designed by FJMT Architects, the building aims to protect the key heritage elements of the existing substation and warehouse buildings.

“By combining the two buildings a dynamic and exciting work place environment can be created that offers a range of spaces including roof terraces and access to the refurbished ‘Machine Hall’ at street level.”


183 Clarence Street is listed as a former electrical substation designed by R H Broderick in the inter-war stripped classical style and was constructed in 1925. According to the proposal, the substation is of historical significance, playing an important role in the development of electrical services in the early twentieth century.


Because of the building’s significant remnants of electrical and industrial equipment such as rectifiers and gantry crane, 183 Clarence Street is set to provide the majority of the publicly accessible space, dubbed in the proposal as ‘Machine Hall’.

185 Clarence Street was designed by Arthur Pritchard in the Federation Warehouse style and was constructed in 1909 as a warehouse for wine and spirit merchant, Norman Shelley. This former warehouse forms part of one of the largest known collections of industrial and warehouse buildings of its kind in Australia.


Perched atop the heritage-listed site is where the architects intend to deliver their modern element. Drawing expression and material language from technology and industrial design, the new levels deliver high quality, contemporary workspace within a distinctive architectural form.

“The extension is steel framed with concrete floors, exposed services and wrapped in a high performance double curved glass façade,” the proposal said.

“These new levels both compliment and contrast with the re-purposed heritage levels below to deliver a contemporary workplace of the highest quality.


“The proposed tower aims to deliver a facade that provides a high tech solution to the internal challenges of contemporary office space, whilst simultaneously adding a beautiful and novel addition to the heritage streetscape[…]that appears to float above.”

The Clarence Street commercial building project is estimated to cost just under $50 million. The proposal is on exhibition until October.

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