Wrecking ball to swing on Cabana Apartments in Kirribilli (or will it?)

by AF

Built in 1947, the Cabana Apartments were (possibly mistakenly) designated as a heritage item of regional significance under the North Sydney Local Environment Plan. Described as a relatively rare design of an Inter-War Functionalist style building, the white stucco and moderne P&O theme was denounced as having ‘no distinctive features’ and downgraded last year when the owner argued that the building was not significant. [Note: although not technically an inter-war building, this style of architecture continued in Sydney until the late 1940s due to a shortage of materials.]

The 8 flats were gradually bought up by Sandoval Investments, who had paid approximately $450,000 per apartment in 2001 and 2002. The last apartment sold in 2006 for $1.1 million. Sandoval submitted a development application in 2006 to demolish the building and replace it with a luxury low-rise apartment building, but the application was refused on the grounds that the current building was of historical significance, and that the proposed design was not sympathetic to the area.

After a long wait, a second application with a new design was submitted in 2011 and was approved in February 2012. It still required the demolition of Cabana, although they had explored the work and costs required to keep the current building (underpinning, gutting and renovating was estimated to cost $8.86 million).

A building inspection found several issues that would have to be addressed if they chose to keep the current structure, including:

  • Rusted and inoperative guttering and downpipes
  • Issues regarding compliance with current fire regulations
  • Some floors were timber, not concrete slabs
  • Rusted lintels
  • Deteriorated and leaking window frames

None of these issues prevented the current units from being rented out to tenants until demolition starts. 

Furthermore, since the developer completed the buy-out in 2006, it appears there has been little or no maintenance to the building, possibly in anticipation of its future demolition. An assessment by Urbis in 2011 found that the ‘building has had no significant maintenance since 2006 and is in a poor condition’ which conveniently added to the argument for demolition. The obvious economic choice, then, is to tear it down and rebuild.

The new residential block called “The Point” will contain just five apartments. It has been designed by architects Robert Walters and Alexander Tzannes. A 3-bedroom apartment in the new building is advertised for $4.35 million.

*Update: Sales of off-the-plan apartments in ‘The Point’ appear to have been suspended in early 2013 as Sandoval has listed the entire site, with DA approval, for sale as is. The block is scheduled to be sold at auction on June 8.


106 Kirribilli Avenue, Kirribilli, Sydney

“The Point” Kirribilli