Sirius transformation: $435m of luxury apartments sold in former social housing block

Weekend sales come two years after NSW government sold building to private developers for $150m

Sydney’s Sirius building has continued its transformation from historic social housing block to luxury apartment complex with $435m worth of apartments in the block sold over the weekend.

Penthouses with infinity pools and an average value of more than $100,000 per square metre were among the sales, including one built as a pod on top of the building which sold for $35m, the Australian reported.

About 80% of Sirius’s 89 properties were sold over the weekend, two years after the Berejiklian government controversially sold the building to private developers for $150m.

Justin Brown, the executive chairman of CBRE, the real estate company selling apartments in Sirius, told the Australian “if I had another 10 of the $20m penthouses with the pools, I could have sold them”.

Residents are expected to begin moving into the redeveloped building at the end of 2022.

Surrounded by icons including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and Circular Quay, Sirius was built in the 1970s to provide housing for low-income residents of the Rocks, a suburb adjacent to Sydney’s CBD.

The New South Wales government first flagged its intention to sell the building in 2015 and there was a public outcry in subsequent years as ministers repeatedly ignored a recommendation to heritage-list the brutalist building.

A community campaign, Save Our Sirius, was formed as part of a public campaign to preserve the building and unions placed a green ban on any union-linked company being involved in demolishing the building.

In January 2018, 93-year-old Myra Demetriou became the last resident forced out of her home to clear the way for the building’s sale.

When it was sold in June 2019 for $150m, the NSW government said the private buyers would refurbish the building internally, and that the sale money would go towards building new social housing in other areas of Sydney.

Last month, a newspaper ad for the luxury apartments generated outrage on social media.

The ad asked readers to “live on the world’s most iconic harbour”, while saying the former social housing block had been “reimagined for a modern sensibility, with a level of luxury its harbour front address deserves”.

CBRE was contacted for comment.


Elias Visontay

The GuardianTramp

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