Chinese-backed property developer Heworth has lodged a $135 million development application for the former Balmain Leagues Club site at Rozelle despite the possibility that the state government may look to compulsorily acquire the site for construction of the Western Harbour Tunnel.
Heworth, which has the financial backing of Malaysia’s Mulpha, is proposing that the site be developed into a trio of unit towers for 173 apartments as well as commercial floor space.
The centrepiece of the site would be a new, modern Balmain Leagues Club. Heworth settled on the $75 million acquisition last month with Mulpha acting as mezzanine funder on the deal.
Related reading: Mulpha Lodges Residential Application for Norwest ‘Smart City’
The NSW government has flagged that it might look to take control of the property which could be used as a tunnel entrance. NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey has confirmed the former club site was being considered for compulsory acquisition but that the government would first undertake community consultations.
Heworth may be emboldened by the Desane Properties decision handed down this week by the NSW Supreme Court with the residential developer victorious in its battle to maintain ownership of a prime development site in Rozelle.
Desane has been fighting a compulsory acquisition of its site at 68-72 Lilyfield Road since 2016. It maintained its property was worth more than $100 million due to its development potential after originally being offered $20 million compensation.
Desane argues that the compulsory acquisition was invalid because it did not comply with the Just Terms Act as the government did not properly identify the public purpose for which the property is set to be acquired.
Related reading: Penrith Panthers’ Precinct Master Plan Proposal
Heworth’s 7300 square metre site was purchased with a request from Wests Tigers to be able to return to their traditional home.
Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne had written to Grand Rozelle Pty Ltd, a fully-owned subsidiary of Heworth, asking the company to reopen the car park behind the Club on Waterloo Street, to help local businesses and residents.
Byrne said on his official Facebook page: “There is an existing approval, which I achieved through Leichhardt Council, for 6-8 storey development of the site, which includes space for a new leagues club to be gifted to the Tigers. We know this scale of development stacks up financially because we paid for a firm to undertake a commercial viability study. I hope the new owner takes this approved development as the starting point.”
Heworth is based in Sydney and operates three businesses in funds management, property development funding and construction.
It has apartment development projects under way worth nearly $1 billion in Sydney at Cammeray, Rosebery, Bondi Junction, Parramatta and Ashfield.