Busy Brisbane fund manager, IJ Capital, has acquired the former Aviary Toowong development site in Brisbane’s inner west. The firm, led by Scott Lai, plans to collaborate with a neighbouring property owner, Po Seng Management, to create an expansive mixed-use development valued at $2 billion.
The 9000 square-meter development site, situated at the intersection of Sherwood Road and High Street, was purchased by IJ Capital from a syndicate managed by RW Capital and State Development Corporation for a sum of $53 million.
The vision for this ambitious project involves combining forces with Po Seng Management to transform the site into a sprawling 1.3-hectare mega site, offering ample opportunities for development.
Scott Lai expressed his anticipation that over $1 billion will be invested in developing the amalgamated property. The end result is expected to be a mixed-use project, with an estimated value close to double the investment. While the development plans for the corner site were initially approved three years ago, there is also a separate proposal for the Po Seng site. Lai believes that both designs may require some adjustments following consultations with the local council.
Toowong Central is the proposed name for the amalgamated project, which is set to encompass around 25,000 square meters of commercial space, an equivalent area for retail, and a total of 700 apartments across four towers.
Mr. Lai emphasized, “We will engage with the council and the local community to identify their needs. Our aim is to enhance the community precinct. Toowong is currently experiencing a shortage of medium to high-end residential options, as well as a lack of high-quality dining establishments. Our development will address these gaps, featuring a modern and high-quality design.”
In a surprising turn of events, the once prosperous ‘The Aviary’ residential tower project faced an insurmountable obstacle due to escalating costs. However, a silver lining emerged as IJ Capital teamed up with the owner of the adjacent property at 80-88 Jephson Street.
This strategic partnership has effectively consolidated a substantial 1.3-hectare parcel of land at the heart of Toowong. IJ Capital now has ambitious plans to materialize the envisioned Toowong Central development on this expansive property. The blueprint includes the creation of an impressive 25,000 square meters of space dedicated to retail and commercial endeavours. Additionally, the development will encompass a diverse range of residential apartments, housed within four distinct towers.
The transaction was successfully negotiated by Christian Sandstrom from Knight Frank and Ian Hetherington from Ray White. Mr. Sandstrom commented on the growing interest in South-east Queensland from various local and international development groups. He highlighted the attractiveness of the site due to its proximity to the city, retail amenities, and educational institutions.
The sale of the land marks a significant milestone for RW Capital, allowing them to provide returns to their investors after a period of uncertainty. Ross McKinnon, Managing Director of State Development Corporation, expressed his delight.
“We are pleased that the buyer intends to develop the property. Since the inception of the development project in 2020, we have received overwhelming support from the local council, residents, and retail tenants. We are confident that once completed, the project will greatly benefit the Toowong community.”
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