North Ryde due for shakeup

About 14 hectares of land in the North Ryde station precinct are in line for a shakeup of their residential, commercial, retail, community and recreational uses.

This comes as the NSW government pushes ahead with plans for $17 million in infrastructure works to create a ‘’vibrant new community hub’’.

The works will include rezoning up to 85,000 square metres of land for 2,500 houses, 125 student apartments and 6,000 square metres of retail space. Up to 1500 jobs could be created.

Residents will have access to more than 2.4 hectares of parks and open space, cafes and restaurants with outdoor dining, and cycle paths and community facilities.

Department of Planning and Infrastructure director general Sam Haddad said the final rezoning plans incorporated changes highlighted by community consultation. He said the community would have a say on detailed construction plans as they are lodged.

"We have delivered an outcome at North Ryde in line with key elements of the new planning system by working with the community and local council to deliver sound planning for growth and infrastructure informed by three-dimensional imagery," Mr Haddad said.

"Importantly, the community's feedback has been incorporated into the final plans, as shown by last month's announcement that the current Tennis World site south of Epping Road has been removed from the scheme altogether.’’

Mr Haddad said the North Ryde Station Urban Activation Precinct will provide new homes and jobs close to existing infrastructure and other employment areas, such as Macquarie Park, Macquarie University, Chatswood and the CBD.

"It will also take advantage of the Government's $550 million upgrade of the M2 and the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link," he said.

Local real estate agents agree the project is beneficial – as long as it’s well implemented.

Ray White North Ryde principal David Jarvis said success of the project would depend on ‘’what gets passed’’ to the final stages and becomes reality. ‘’Units above the station?’’ he queried. ‘’Enough car parking?’’

‘’We’ve seen before where grand plans fizzle because of lack of good planning – especially parking.’’

But with quality housing planned for an expected influx of new residents, Mr Jarvis, whose firm manages 600 rentals, said he may write to landlords urging them to ‘’lift their game’’ in anticipation of increased competition when the new housing stock is built.

He said owners of unrenovated 1970s units, especially, will find the going tougher. Mr Jarvis said there had been ‘’hardly any development’’ in North Ryde or Macquarie Park since the early 1980s. But now things are moving – and prices, too. In a recent sale, a three bedroom brick veneer in North Ryde, rented for 10 years, with original kitchen and bathroom, was expected to fetch $975,000-$1 million when auctioned. It went for $1.65 million.

The attractions for newcomers are more jobs in the area, the Lane Cove tunnel, and proximity to the university. Many buyers are coming from Chatswood and Willoughby and the inner west, such as Balmain. Mr Jarvis said they wanted blocks of 600 square metres for under $1 million.

Managing partner Greg Smith, of Gilmour and Smith property agents in Ryde, said he could see ‘’no downside’’ to the North Ryde station precinct development, which would improve the pool of quality housing and apartments. ‘’They will be well accepted,’’ he said.

‘’There is already a property pool out there, with many canny buyers ‘landbanking’ for up to 30 years. They now stand to reap the rewards with higher block prices coming through the proposed different zonings.’’

Mr Smith said well priced blocks would reinvent the area and create a great living environment. Modern, well designed apartments at reasonable prices would attract residents. ‘’Many overseas buyers are already moving in, often with their children attending the university. They bring money into the area and that helps keep property prices high.’’

Other features of the development:

  • $17 million in transport upgrades for the precinct, a pedestrian and cycle bridge across Delhi Road, widening Delhi Road at North Ryde station and upgrading nearby intersections;
  • A reduction in maximum building heights around the station from 106 metres to 92 metres to reduce visual and overshadowing impacts;
  • Allowing child care centres in additional locations to better cater for the needs of young families in the new community; and
  • Removing small government-owned parcels of land adjoining Bundara Reserve.

Up to $6 million in funding is being made available under the government's Precinct Support Scheme for public domain and community infrastructure works associated with the precinct.

UrbanGrowth NSW, the government's development arm, recently bought most of the land in the precinct from other government bodies. It will coordinate development on the land. Applications will be lodged later this year and construction begun in mid-2014.

NSW Planning and Infrastructure minister Brad Hazzard said the North Ryde precinct was ‘’a great opportunity to create a vibrant and active community with good access to public transport for local residents and workers”.

He said the government was committed to working closely with the community and the City of Ryde to progress the plans.

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