‘Secret’ estate townhouses set to smash sales records

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It can hardly be called a secret but scaffolding, workers in high-vis vests and trucks are the only obvious clues to an intriguing new development underway in Pyrmont.

The project has only a basic website, no pre-sales and little in the way of publicity – yet some of the homes being built in the grandly named Grande Estate are expected to smash suburb price records, writes Sue Williams in Domain.

Hidden away by the heritage Terminus Hotel, excavated into the site of a former council car park, it’s actually a series of 11 large terraces that are already making their own contribution to Sydney’s history.

When workers began digging into the ground – the highest point of Pyrmont overlooking the bay – they uncovered tonnes of rare “yellow gold” Sydney sandstone.

It has now been donated to the City of Sydney for the repair and restoration of its historic buildings.

As a result, most of the sandstone used on the terraces had to be transported from Gosford.

“The reason there was never a lot of development in this area of Pyrmont Bay was that it’s all built on sandstone which was so hard, it made it too expensive to dig holes and develop here,” said Murray Wood, associate director of McGrath Projects NSW.

“But when we got development approval, the council wanted us to deliver the sandstone for the city. So, it’s been a massive operation, even before we started building.”

The development by the TWT Property Group, to be called Grande Estate, has been cloaked in secrecy mostly because it’s such an unusual collection of homes in an area traditionally either built with smaller workers’ cottages or high-rise blocks as in Jacksons Landing.

It’s therefore been decided to launch it publicly in late November when it’s nearing completion, so prospective buyers will be able to see, touch and experience the new homes.

Some are likely to be the most expensive ever offered in Pyrmont, up to four storeys high, with more than 500 square metres of internal space and 200-square-metre basements for music recording studios, media immersion rooms, wine cellars, gyms, panic rooms and storage.

The current Pyrmont record for a home is $13.3 million, paid in 2017 for Ferrari Australasia chief executive Herbert Appleroth’s five-bedroom apartment in Sydney Wharf. That topped the previous high – for another Sydney Wharf apartment in 2015 – by more than $1 million.

“It’s just an extraordinary project,” said Anna Goh, associate director of DBI Design, the company also responsible for the interiors of The Darling Hotel at The Star Sydney, the Hayman Island Resort, Queens Wharf Residences in Brisbane and Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi.

“The site is unique, the architecture of the terraces has created fantastic volumes and proportions, and the finishes are going to be exquisite.

“There are double-height living spaces and there’s fumed oak timber flooring, Elba marble slabs, timber veneer panelling, sandstone finishes, internal lifts and open staircases. It’s all very bespoke and private, yet you’re living in a neighbourhood that’s still mostly for pedestrians filled with beautiful heritage terraces.”

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