COX-designed build-to-rent project in Sydney’s North Shore prioritises communal amenity

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Development plans have been lodged with the department of planning for a new build-to-rent project in Sydney’s North Shore.

Designed by leading Australian architectural practice COX for Twynam Group, the proposed build-to-rent (BTR) development, Nicholson Place is located in suburban St Leonards. Once a bustling commercial hub recognised for its excellent transport links and modern amenities near the city, St Leonards has evolved into a mixed-use precinct featuring a diverse mix of residential, retail, commercial, and community spaces.

Nicholson Place

High quality communal amenity for future residents lies at the core of COX’s design for Nicholson Place. The development will provide 271 build-to-rent residences in a mix of studio, 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments over 30 storeys, with the residential section sitting above 6,000sqm of mixed-use commercial spaces in the podium.

COX worked closely with their interiors team to craft health and wellbeing spaces, co-working and studying spaces, social and gathering spaces, and operational spaces, all spread out vertically. These curated amenity and communal spaces – accessible to all residents – help create a sense of belonging and enhance wellness within a connected vertical village.

A public plaza on the ground floor to the corner of Nicholson Street and Christie Street has been proposed as a benefit to local residents, in addition to a multipurpose room accessible from Christie Street, which will be used by the local community to cater for a variety of events.

Key design highlights:

  • Diverse housing types with various orientations to the north for maximum sun and to the south for sweeping harbour views
  • Integrated lobby café and retail offerings that seamlessly transition onto the public plaza
  • Lap pool, gym, spin studio and yoga space, plus a sauna and steam room, hot spa, and cold plunges
  • Nature-based play zone for kids across three levels
  • Co-working office space facilitating work-from-home opportunities for residents
  • A south-eastern space on level 28 to take in the harbour views – amenities include a kitchen, theatre, library and bar/private dining room
  • Communal recreation space on level 29 with high-quality landscaped rooftop for leisure and socialisation, inclusive of a large splash pool, day beds, cabanas and entertaining spaces with seating and barbeques

“What makes this building unique is how it has allowed people to meaningfully connect with each other. Whether it’s the building residents in the communal kitchen, the local community in the purpose-built community space or the public in the corner plaza,’’ says COX director, Felipe Miranda.

Socially sustainable living

To ensure social inclusivity within the building design, the amenity provision promotes healthy habitats and lifestyles, creating a comfortable, vibrant and adaptable environment that fosters recreation, social interaction and intergenerational connections contributing to broader social sustainability. Communal spaces are designed with biophilic design principles, with green planting connecting people to nature.

Designing with Country

Paying tribute to the Gai-maragal People, who have been the traditional custodians of these lands since time immemorial, COX’s design is informed by Indigenous design strategies throughout the development and built form including the orientation and positioning of the living, working and playing spaces.

Vision for Nicholson Place

As St Leonards evolves into a more diverse and mixed-use precinct, the development surrounding the site has embraced ground floor activation guidelines from St Leonards and Crows Nest 2036 Plan to create nodes of activity and enhance permeability through the area. These developments have fostered a sense of community and connectivity by linking spaces between St Leonards Station and Crows Nest Metro Station. The Nicholson Place site has the potential to contribute to this growing community by responding to the changing context of St Leonards and providing a development that reflects the new residential and mixed-use nature of the area.

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