Woolworths files $147m Neutral Bay tower plan

A Koichi Takada-designed Woolworths supermarket redevelopment, topped with up to nine levels of offices and apartments, has been proposed for Sydney’s upscale Neutral Bay area.

Concept plans for the $147 million mixed-use complex have been filed by Fabcot, the development arm of Woolworths, with the North Sydney Council.

It would comprise 19,218m² of gross floor area with a 3,311m² best in class supermarket, 1,846m² of retail space, 2,103m² of office space and 91 one, two and three bedroom apartments. .

A new public plaza and link through the site was incorporated into the plans to “help activate the site and provide a new civic heart and focal point for downtown Neutral Bay”.

It would be created by placing the supermarket underground, providing for the additional open space above, and would be enabled by shops, restaurants and cafes along the edges.

“The proposal will provide a next-generation mixed-use building comprising an underground supermarket, specialist retail and retail space to support new jobs. [and] strengthen the local economy,” the filings state.

“He will make a valuable contribution to the renewal and revitalization of downtown Neutral Bay and help catalyze new investment in the area.”

▲ A rendering of the concept proposal for the mixed-use redevelopment of Woolworths in Neutral Bay.

The proposal, including underground parking for 350 vehicles, would replace an existing single-storey Woolworths supermarket at 3-7 Rangers Road and a five-storey office block at 50 Yeo Street.

According to a design statement submitted by Koichi Takada Architects, the proposed built form is inspired by “the natural character of the Neutral Bay landscape”.

“The gentle curves of the sandstone gullies and Angophora trees that existed in the natural context of Neutral Bay inspired an organic, curved and sophisticated architectural language.

“The natural facade is linked to Neutral Bay’s past and aims to reinvigorate Rangers Road with community facilities and activation of the public realm.”

A two-storey podium ‘sheathing’ the western boundary of the site is designed to establish it ‘like a hub and create a village feel with sufficient non-residential floor space to generate interest and vibrancy’.

▲ A new public square and a crossing link have been integrated into the proposed development.

According to filings, the proposal was developed with consideration of the built form outcomes adopted in Council’s Future Directions Report for Neutral Bay Town Centre.

Woolworths said “despite repeated attempts” it had been unable to acquire a nearby site at 185 Military Road suitable for a higher density building.

As a result, he had secured the site at 50 Yeo Street instead to create a single plot of land of sufficient size to build a new town square and accommodate a full-range supermarket below ground.

“The result of massing and design … had to be reviewed to ensure that the future project is able to fund the desired public benefits, including the new town square, through site links and streetscape improvements,” the documents state.

“The proposal will capitalize on the site’s size and strategic location at a prominent location in downtown Neutral Bay.”

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