Coogee Bay Hotel Lodges Development Application
C!NC, the company that owns The Coogee Bay Hotel, has submitted a Development Application to Randwick Council for a $112 million development of the prime beachfront site.
The proposal includes a six-storey apartment building with 60 residential units, a Coles supermarket, three levels of underground car parking with 227 spaces, as well as eight cafés and restaurants in an ‘Eat Street’ laneway.
A spokesperson for the developer described the proposal as “an opportunity to reinvigorate and open the site, upgrade its accommodation offering, create a wider range of entertainment and dining options, public meeting spaces and a more family friendly environment.”
Local residents, however, have expressed concern at the scale of the proposed development, particularly its height. The highest point of the proposed building would be over 23.33 metres – nearly double the 12-metre height limit under the planning control for the Coogee foreshore, which includes this site. However, the existing buildings contravene that building standard by approximately 4.5 metres, and the DA proposes an additional 4.5 metres above this level.
The bulk of the proposed 60 residential units also seeks to exceed the floor space ratio planning control by 19 per cent.
Traffic issues have also been raised, particularly the impact on Coogee Bay Road, Vicar Street and Arden Street. This is at odds with Randwick Council initiatives to make Coogee more pedestrian-friendly, such as the removal of overhead wires and recent widening of the footpaths. The traffic generated by 60 residential units, eight restaurants and a supermarket, in addition to hotel patrons (227 parking spaces), will impact adversely on residents in Vicar Street, which is a narrow cul-de-sac. Additionally, the movement of Coles delivery trucks will impact traffic flow on the already busy Arden Street.
A number of residents in existing homes west of the site on Vicar, Brook and Kidman Streets are worried they will lose their views or have them impacted as a result of the non-compliance.
Excavation and construction would also generate noise and disrupt residents and local businesses for a number of years.
The Beast spoke with a number of stakeholders, including local politicians, residents, business owners and the developer. A general theme among many of the stakeholders contacted was that a development of its size would eat away at the whole Coogee ‘village feel’.
One Coogee business owner and long-term local, who asked to remain anonymous, was supportive of efforts to invigorate the strip but was also concerned about the height of the proposed building.
“I’m all for development, and I understand that it’s got to happen, but it’s just too big.”
“If they get these heights through it will create a precedent and Coogee will end up like Bondi. It’s already a deadset shitfight down here in summer. Coogee’s appeal is in its village atmosphere, and this could destroy it.”
Randwick City Greens councillor, Philipa Veitch, echoed those concerns.
“I can’t see how this can be a positive for the residents of Coogee,” she said.
“This proposal is just way over the top. It’s a high impact development that will permanently alter the character and village feel of the precinct and have a real impact on the amenity of local residents and visitors alike.”
“We want to preserve the unique heritage and character of Coogee, but it won’t stay that way if developers are allowed to ride roughshod over basic planning controls. If the increased height is approved, it will set the scene for even more overdevelopment in Coogee.”
A spokesperson for the developer, C!NC, explained in an interview with industry website pubtic.com.au that the DA was “quite balanced” and part of the owner’s long-term vision for the property.
“When we bought the hotel back in 1991 there was already an existing DA approved for the site,” they explained.
“We are listening to the community – we are part of that community – and we believe the timing is right for re-establishing and reinvigorating that vision.”
When asked by The Beast about the concerns raised by local stakeholders, the spokesperson said they understood both sides of the story and had faith in the democratic process.
“At the end of the day, whatever DA goes in, it will always be controversial, but there will be a lot of people who will realise the benefit of our plan and be very favourable and see that this is a chance to ensure The Coogee Bay Hotel and surrounding site remains a viable and contributing asset for the community and locality into the future.”
Randwick Council officers will assess the DA and prepare a report for consideration by the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel. Because of the development’s high cost, the proposal is classified as ‘regionally significant’, so the panel is the consent authority. Stakeholders have until August 26 to make a submission to Randwick Council.