IJ Capital swoops on ex-Woolies with bigger development plan

Sunland’s redundant Zaha Hadid proposal on Toowong’s ex-ABC site.

Ray White Capital and State Development Corporation have sold a central Toowong site permit-ready for a $450 million project to IJ Capital, which plans to team with a neighbour on a development (artist’s impression, top) worth four times more.

The 9000 square metre parcel at the south west corner of High Street and Sherwood Road traded for $53m following an off-market negotiation led by Knight Frank’s Christian Sandstrom and Ray White Commercial’s Ian Heatherington.

Also working in the background to get a deal over the line was IJ director Scott Lai – who led the owner of the neighbouring office, 80-88 Jephson St, Po Seng Group, to tip his 5000 sqm holding, with a five level office investment, into a proposed and major town centre redevelopment covering the (1.3 hectare) amalgamation.

Coincidentally, RWC and SDC sold that property too – in December, 2020, for $25.15m.

The partners acquired the two assets the year earlier from Stockland which in 2015 pushed through a residential based mixed use project with three towers.

The RWC and SDC syndicate won approval to replace the balance in October, 2020; branded Aviary Toowong, and also with three skyscrapers, it carried a $450m end value.

Units were subsequently a struggle to sell off the plan and became more expensive to build given rising construction costs following the end of COVID lockdowns.

Sites united again

IJ and Po Seng Group are planning four towers over the Toowong block (story continues below).

One of the buildings will be an office, expected to contain c25,000 sqm.

About 700 apartments and significant retail is also intended in a project to be known as Toowong Central.

“We are delighted that the purchaser will look to develop the property,” SDC managing director, Ross McKinnon, said.

“Since launching the development in 2020, we have received overwhelming support from council, local residents and retail tenants, and we have no doubt that once built, the project will provide fantastic amenity to the Toowong community,” he added.

The IJ Capital land accommodated one of Queensland’s first Woolworths stores, opening in 1966.

“This property is in a prime site in the heart of Toowong, and will follow other recent developments including the Monarch…on the old ABC site and Mosaic development on Sylvan Rd and Archer St,” Mr Sandstrom said.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.