CRANE CITY – Special Report Gosford CBD

Cranes in the sky around Gosford CBD signalling a boom time.Mayor Jane Smith says the proliferation of cranes in the skies of Gosford are due to the existing planning controls, and not the new SEPP and DCP

The number of cranes filling the Gosford skyline is the clearest indicator of the massive transformation the city is currently undergoing.

The number of cranes now fluctuates from one week to the next as some projects approach completion and new ones come on line, but according to the city’s skyline, at long last, something is happening.

The 12 development sites featured in this report, all with cranes on site when our photographer did a drive by, represent $216m worth of works and will result in 595 new residences, mostly one, two and three-bedroom units in flat buildings. That’s in addition to the hospital car park and medical school building, new street level retail and A1 commercial space.

The NSW Government claims that the new State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), covering Gosford CBD, will result in a revitalisation of the city, but by the clearest measure, that transformation is already taking place, before the new planning controls are in place. The SEPP and DCP were gazetted on Friday, October 12, days after the Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, announced, at a Gosford Erina and Coastal Chamber of Commerce luncheon, he’d signed off on the new controls. Roberts also announced the merger of the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation with Hunter Development Corporation under the leadership of, Michael Cassel, the man responsible for the transformation of Newcastle’s city centre.

Central Coast Council Mayor, Jane Smith, has proudly said, repeatedly, that $1.79b worth of development has been approved in the Gosford CBD since the Council amalgamation in May, 2016.

Cain King, Director of CKDS Architecture, and Chair of the Central Coast Chapter of the Urban Design Institute of Australia (UDIA) said he was “genuinely excited” about Gosford’s future. “You do need a city centre for everything else to filter out from, so I do agree with the process that the NSW Government has used,” King said. However, he said a great deal of the current development activity, the cranes already in the sky, were due to the bonus incentives put in place by the former Gosford Council. “Everything we are seeing, apart from hospital, tax office and finance building, are directly from the bonus height and floor space ratio (FSR) incentives that Gosford Council put in place to encourage developers to come to the Coast. “Those cranes are a direct result of that, and that was a great benefit of Gosford Council’s initiative,” King said.

Whilst praising the former Council, King said he was also a “big believer” in the regional Central Coast Council. “We are in a new era now,” he said. “In support of the Council, they have had a lot of things to deal with as a result of the amalgamation, full stop, and the community needs to understand and be patient with that,” King said. “At the moment, Council does not have the number of planners it needs to support the number of projects coming through.” CKDS is involved with several significant developments in the CBD, including John Singleton’s Bonython Tower in Mann St and the triple tower Waterside development on the Froggy’s site, to name two of the biggest.

“The community needs to know the new confidence that developers have in Gosford, as a result of State Government taking over development in the city until Council has its new consolidated Local Environmental Plan (LEP) in place,” he said. “The benefits for the local community of the State Government stepping in are phenomenal. “They are throwing in millions of dollars for infrastructure, so local money does not have to be spent on those items.

“Developers coming in won’t have to make those contributions, hence the Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) is being reduced to 3 per cent. “The measurable requirements within the state LEP will give a little more confidence to developers to come in and invest,” he said. King said he was confident that the emphasis on design excellence would deliver A-grade or B-grade commercial space to the city. “Currently we are C, D and below”.

Bank finance remained a problem for developers but, according to King, they are “being smarter about it this time around.

“A lot of the developers we have now have been far more intelligent in selling Gosford and attracting investment. “Developers are digging into their own pockets to build certain developments that are happening because finance is only made available at certain stages in the process. “Developers are having to dig into their own contingencies and their own money to get to a certain point where they can finance.” King said other developers have largely underwritten their own projects, namely John Singleton and Tony Denny.

“We have got to thank them and the commitment they are putting into the Coast,” King said. “They are frontier developers and they need to be recognised and thanked for the leg up.” King said he was also confident that the city that Gosford would morph into over the next 10 years would be attractive and liveable. “The urban fabric we build today will help set up the community and the culture we will have in the future.” He said he believed the redeveloped hospital would attract medical, scientific and health professionals as the “anchor residents” in a revitalised Gosford.

“We are a regional hospital but we are now also an educational hospital outside of Sydney and that is fantastic. “I think that is a great mix to start with.” King said an educational focus, initially through the new medical school at the hospital and then other “university presences” would add to the culture and life of the city. “Nothing brings culture like a university,” he said. What of the sites that have already been approved for development but are not yet near the ‘crane’ stage of activation, including the Waterside triple towers between Mann St, Georgiana Tce and Baker St, the Creighton’s site, the Mariners Plaza on the corner of Mann and Donnison, and the Lederer Group’s masterplan for the Kibbleplex site?

“I can still see these developments happening that have been sitting in the wings, it just takes a bit more time for those to get off the ground. He said demolition on the Froggies site had been delayed because of recent rain but was set to continue. “That site has been activated, we will never lose that DA, that DA is there and their program was always to try and look at 2019 for building,” he said. The North Gosford Gateway project on both corners of Mann St and Etna St was also going ahead through Council. “This one is moving forward through the Council DA system and we have needed to modify the plans to suit Council requirements, but that is part and parcel of a changing Council. “The developer has been accommodating and Council has had very good input.

“We have had to work in parallel with State Rail and will have to go through the JRPP.” So what will Gosford look like as you reach the top of the Brian McGowan bridge in October 2028? “I envisage you will encounter lots of parklands that have been designed for all age groups. “We will have a new built environment that will create more excitement, the culture within the city will be completely changed, it will be more of a community culture. “We will see advances in the city centre, there will be culture in the sense of the performing arts centre.

“The city will be educating and inspiring younger people to be able to work on the Coast. “A lot of facilities in our town will inspire future generations. “We currently have unprecedented commitment from the State Government and local professionals to make the Central Coast a place worth coming to. “I can’t see the stars aligning like this for decades.” Each crane currently in the skyline marks a development symbolic of the beginning of the transformation that King speaks of.

The 12 cranes of Gosford

1. Gosford Hospital staff and public car park Holden St and Showground Rd, Gosford

Value: $35.5m Owned by: NSW Government Completion date: Early 2019 Gosford Hospital’s new staff and public car park has reached its highest point, bringing the $35.5m project a step closer to completion. Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, joined hospital staff on Monday, October 22, for the topping out ceremony of the 805-space structure.

“This new car park will make parking at Gosford Hospital easier for staff, patients and visitors,” Crouch said. “The car park is expected to be fully complete by early 2019, at which point the total number of car spaces at the hospital will be over 1,400,” he said. “The new car park will include electronic messaging signs to let drivers know the number of spaces available, a feature that will also be fitted to the existing multi-storey car park.” The six-storey car park has been built from road level on Showground Rd, so that the rooftop sits level with Holden St and the hospital entry.

The project also includes construction of a new patient drop-off zone on Showground Rd, with pedestrian access into, and around, the hospital site, including a covered walkway between the car park and the main entry. Crouch said the car park project is in addition to the $348m recently completed 11-storey tower Gosford Hospital redevelopment. Work is currently being carried out in existing parts of the hospital to refurbish spaces for allied health, a cancer day unit, an emergency short stay unit and cardiovascular services. The redevelopment of Gosford Hospital is expected to be completed by late 2019.

2. Bonython Tower 59 Mann St, Gosford

Value: $18m Owned by: Bonython Property and Investments, a development arm of the John Singleton Group Completion date: January or February, 2019 The fit out of the John Singleton building, on the site of the former Dutton’s Tavern in Mann St, is well and truly under way. Some of the apartment floors have been completed, except for cleaning, and fi tout of the commercial spaces is happening apace. The crane base is expected to be removed from the site within weeks. Some commercial suites are still available for purchase.

They range in price from $147,000 for a smaller suite up to $1.8m for a suite spanning half a fl oor. Five two-bedroom apartments also remain available for purchase for under $700,000 each.

3. 47 Bean St, Gosford

Value: $5.5m Owned by: Bean Gosford Pty Ltd This development was originally lodged with Gosford Council in 2014, and has gone through three amendments in the past four years. The building currently under construction on the corner of Bean and Watt Sts, is a mixed use development. It will contain 31 boarding rooms, 15 units and one retail tenancy. The adjoining property to the south has been developed for a residential fl at building with ground floor commercial, which is six storeys to Watt St and higher at the rear to Keevers La, due to the slope of the land.

To the west, the adjoining land is subject to DA46238 for a 20 storey shop top housing development. The subject site is zoned B4 Mixed use under Gosford Local Environmental Plan 2014. The date of consent was June 17, 2015, and an application to extend the two-year consent dated May 23, 2017, was granted by Council.

4. 279 Mann St, Gosford

Value: $16.5m Owned by: EQ Constructions Pty Ltd Completion date: December, 2019 Work has commenced quickly on this 57-unit residential flat building and ground floor commercial premises at the northern end of Mann St following the granting of a construction certificate in July. The application was initially lodged in 2014 and was initially valued at $12m, but that estimated cost of work has been revised to $16.5m.

The original application was amended to make way for seven additional two-bedroom units and eight additional car spaces. That amendment was agreed to because it did not significantly alter the height, bulk and design of the original proposal.

5. Merindah Apartments 21 to 25 Mann St, Gosford

Value: $34m Owned by: M Eskander, Telstra and Transfi eld Services Australia Completion date: November, 2019 Approval for this 15-storey, 140-unit residential fl at building was given by the JRPP in 2015. It is located in the B4 Mixed Use part of Gosford tucked behind the former South Gosford post office, which is a heritage item. The site has an area of 6,022 square metres, with frontage to both Mann St and Henry Parry Dve.

It will include 193 parking spaces in three basement levels. Of the 140 apartments, 19 will have one bedroom, 106 will have two bedrooms and 15 will have three bedrooms. At the time of approval, Council’s architect said: “The scale is generally acceptable. “It is acknowledged that the southern section of the building exceeds the height control by 4 storeys, but this is largely compensated by a 4 storey reduction on the northern section of the building. “This creates a view corridor for buildings behind and breaks up the visual bulk that could result from a building of uniform height.”

6. Marina 7 to 9 Lynn Ave, Point Frederick

Value: $10.8m Owned by: Point Frederick Lifestyle Pty Ltd (Tony Denny) This is one of Tony Denny’s major residential projects and promises excellent views over Brisbane Water due to its elevated location in Lynn Ave.

This six-storey residential flat building will comprise 29 residential units and two basement levels of parking. The site is located within the B4 Mixed Use zone and was also within the Gosford City Centre Incentive Area, which meant the developer was able to take advantage of the 30 per cent height and floor space bonus. The basement floor will have 26 car spaces, three spaces for motorcycles and the garbage room.

Another 19 car spaces will be located on the ground floor (but underground), and one of the two-bedroom units will also be on the ground floor. The first, second and third floor will each consist of four units with two bedrooms and two units with three bedrooms. Another three two-bedroom units will be on the fourth floor along with two units of three bedrooms. The fifth floor will consist of two two-bedroom residences and one with three bedrooms. The sixth and top storey will have two three-bedroom units.

7. 10 to 14 Fielder St, West Gosford

Value: $22m Applicant: KI Building Services This eight-storey residential fl at building will consist of 80 apartments in a mixture of studio, one, two, three and four bedroom units, with three levels of basement parking. Again, the site was identifi ed as being within the city centre precinct and was zoned R1 General Residential. According to the Gosford DCP the expansion of the residential zone within the city centre was established to accommodate an additional 10,000 people over the next 25 years.

8. 14 to 16 Batley St, West Gosford

Value: $8.7m Owned by: Newbuild Pty Ltd Completion date: December, 2018 This eight-storey residential flat building will consist of 39 units. Off-the-plan sales were completed around two years ago according to, David Nichols, of Raine and Horne. The building consists of three different types of unit configuration, ranging from onebedroom through to a penthouse. Nichols said Newbuild was working towards a completion date of December and key handover in time for the new year.

9. Scenic 72 to 74 Donnison St West, West Gosford

Value: $11.9m Owned by: Broadwater Views Pty Ltd, Tony Denny Completion date: March, 2019 Another residential fl at building in the expanding West Gosford R1 Residential zone, this time with 33 units. The total site area is 1,353 square metres. The building will include a mix of one, two and three bedroom units over nine storeys, two levels of basement parking and associated servicing and landscaping. It will have 23 car parking spaces on one basement level and another 14 car parking spaces on a second basement level. Finally, another 11 parking spaces will be located at ground level along with a garbage truck turn table, storage areas, entry to the building as well as two units. Levels 1 to 7 include a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units and the eighth floor is a three-bedroom penthouse. McGrath Real Estate said that prices ranged from $790,000 to $820,000.

10. Icon 4 to 8 Kendall St, West Gosford

Value: $18m Owned by: Gosford Water Views Pty Ltd, Tony Denny Completion date: April, 2019 Yet another residential flat building to the west of the train line in the R1 General Residential Zone. Gosford Water Views Pty Ltd is building a 58-unit fl at building on this 2,194 square metre site. It is located on the western side of Kendall St, approximately 500 metres south of Gosford train station. Units will be spread over eight storeys and the development will have 94 car parking spaces. The proposal was substantially amended during the assessment process and the number of units was reduced by 9.

11. Vue 18 to 20 Kendall St, West Gosford

Value: $16.7m Owned by: Central Real, Tony Denny Completion date: January, 2019 A 54-unit residential fl at building with basement parking was fi rst proposed in 2014 with 48 units. The site is zoned R1 Residential and has a total area of 2,299 square metres and the building consists of eight storeys plus basement parking. Units available within the development include 51 with two-bedrooms, two with one bedroom and only one three bedroom dwelling. During the assessment process, Sydney Trains expressed concerns that occupants would encounter rail related noise and vibration from the adjacent rail corridor. As a result, the developer was required to comply with provisions in the NSW Department of Planning’s document “Development Near Rail Corridors and Busy Roads”.

12. 18 Hargraves St and 97 Faunce St West, West Gosford

Value: $18.4m Owned by: Tasmar Corp Pty Ltd This residential flat building development is taking place over two stages. Stage 1 involves the building of 53 units and stage 2 involves construction of another 37 units. The application was lodged in 2016 and received Council approval in April, 2017. The site is zoned R1 General Residential and located in the Gosford city centre. “Consideration has been given to the design in terms of size, scale and form in relation to the characteristics of the site and adjoining development, its location on the edge of the town centre, as well as the desired future character identified in Council’s planning controls,” said the original Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) submitted in support of the application.

“A good planning outcome has been achieved in terms of amenity for future occupants of the development, as well as existing surrounding residents,” it said. The steep site covers an area of 2,434 square metres. The stage one building has seven storeys and stage two units will be over six storeys. The development includes four adaptable units on the ground floor and 108 residential car spaces, along with 15 for visitors and five accessible spaces.

Source: DA documents, Oct 22-24 Gosford DA Tracker, Central Coast Council Interview, Oct 23 Cain King, CKDS Architects Jackie Pearson, journalist