Sydney's Sirius building officially for sale, social housing minister says

The sell-off of the brutalist building is opposed by many in the community, including Labor and the lord mayor

Sydney’s Sirius building is officially on the market with a price tag of around $100m, the New South Wales government has confirmed.

The brutalist building next to the Sydney Harbour bridge – which has been used for social housing for more than 30 years – is being sold to developers who are expected to replace it with hundreds of private apartments, despite fierce opposition from community groups desperate to save it.

“It’s up for sale today – we’re looking for expressions of interest,” the minister for social housing, Pru Goward, told ABC Radio on Thursday.

Goward first made the controversial announcement three years ago that Sirius would be sold to build new social housing.

The decision has been fiercely opposed by a broad cross-section of the Sydney community, from tenants who attempted to hold out against the move, to the Australian Institute of Architects, which says the building should be retained for its heritage value.

The mooted sale has prompted protests by community activists, and is opposed by the Labor opposition and the Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore.

The decision to sell the building comes despite a Heritage Council recommendation for the building to be placed on the heritage register on the basis of the integrity of its representation of brutalist architecture and its history as a response to the Green Bans movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

But the government has repeatedly rejected calls to place the building on the register, most recently in October.

Goward will announce that the new owner will have the option of retaining the existing structure and benefit from its current height.

The Sirius building sell-off is part of the state government’s plan to sell 300 state-owned properties in prime locations across Sydney, including 240 properties in nearby Millers Point, to raise up to $500m.

In October, the Sirius building, which was completed in 1980, was added to the World Monuments Fund 2018 watch list.

Australian Associated Press contributed to this report


Michael McGowan

The GuardianTramp

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