Historic Coogee mansion set to be converted into luxury apartments

Historic Coogee mansion set to be converted into luxury apartments
Image: Concept design of new luxury apartment block, including the conversion of historic Ballamac House into residences. Photo: Central Element.


The proposed conversion of heritage-listed Ballamac House, alongside plans to construct a luxury apartment block on the vacant land in front, has raised concerns about the design’s heritage value. Submitted by developer Central Element, the design has subdivided the Victorian mansion into two residences and proposed a further eight apartments in a new four-storey apartment building.

Ballamac House was one of the first homes ever built in Coogee, constructed in 1860 and first owned by Charles Moore, a Randwick Councillor and Mayor – who later went on to become the Mayor of Sydney.

The placement of the home on the headland above Coogee Beach was about optimising the high-vantage point. Under the proposed plans, the new apartment block will have sweeping ocean views.

View of Coogee Beach from 1942. Photo: Flickr.

The Heritage Impact Statement maintains that changes to the land around the home, such as subdivisions which have given rise to apartment buildings, have altered “the relationship of the house to its immediate context”.

A spokesperson for Randwick Heritage Action Group, Linda Avramides, said that while the developers have promised to restore the home, the specific renovations are “not very transparent”.

Avramides says the apartment block will “overshadow heritage” by obstructing the view of the home from Dunningham reserve, the public park across the road.

She says the plans to remove the home’s later additions disregards the history of past owners – such as the demolition of the 1904-1944 additions made by Sir James Joynton Smith, the former Mayor of Sydney and owner of the Arcadia arcade, which the street is named after.

But according to the heritage statement, numerous alterations to the home have “resulted in a loss of significance”.

Environmental concerns raised 

Long-term Coogee resident Maria Bradley says the plans raise “serious” environmental issues, including the removal of 15 trees.

“Not only will there be the loss of trees and green space, but it is a cement building which has a huge urban heat load,” Bradley told City Hub.

Bradley called the plans “opportunistic” in prioritising luxury apartments over affordable housing.

“To lose heritage and see impacts to the public space and the environment all for luxury apartments, is not acceptable.”

Ballamac House is not part of the State Heritage Register, instead belonging to the Randwick Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

The Randwick LEP controls the council’s heritage-protected items and determines changes to the land.

However, Avramides cited her concerns about the council’s heritage conservation efforts, “[the area] keeps losing buildings to developers”.

Bradley echoed the community group’s sentiment, raising issues with the planning process: “there is a large apartment block next door that was on-the-spot rezoned during a very controversial planning era, and in a way, this is very similar.”


You May Also Like

Comments are closed.