Saturday, June 28, 2008

Newstead Waterfront

Record-breaker rises from toxic wasteland

Fiona Cameron | June 27, 2008

The Australian

AN apartment to be built on formerly contaminated land in inner-city Brisbane has sold off the plan for $14.25 million, smashing the city's residential price record.

The buyer has not been identified but developer Mirvac said it was a Brisbane businessman who planned to make the riverfront luxury penthouse at Newstead his principal place of residence.

The contract, which will be settled when the building is completed in mid-2010, was signed two weeks ago and became unconditional on Tuesday.

Mirvac's proposed Waterfront project is on a site that is part of a larger land parcel that was home to a gasworks until 1968 and still contains the heritage-listed steel skeleton of a giant old gas tank dating from 1860.

The surrounding land became a toxic nightmare for various parties involved and was the subject of long-running litigation over its clean-up until the Environmental Protection Agency finally gave it a tick of approval in April. In the past five years, one million tonnes of soil had been removed from the 17.4ha site, some dug from as far as 9m below ground level, Mirvac said yesterday.

Mirvac said three other apartments in the Waterfront project had been sold for prices ranging between $5.95 million and $8.75million. In total, 60 apartments had been sold for a total $201 million before the project's public release this week.

The penthouse deal has overshot Brisbane's previous residential record by more than $3 million. That record had stood only since April last year when John and Susan George paid $11.2 million for a historic sandstone home on Hamilton hill that was owned by the Anglican Church and home to its archbishops for decades. Mr George is the founder of the Mrs Crocket's salad business.

The Newstead penthouse deal is a graphic indicator of where money is flowing at the market's top end: many of the biggest deals these days are in super-flash apartments rather than old-style mansions.

Developers have zoned in on the trend, and according to agency DTZ's project marketing director, Paul Barratt, another three apartment projects planned in inner Brisbane will have penthouses priced above $14 million.

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