Five-storey tower springs up next to adjoining semi in Lewisham

It looks like a home owner’s worst nightmare.

A five-storey apartment block has erupted on a small street in Sydney’s inner west, so close to the neighbouring property that the two buildings are actually touching. What’s worse is the home next door is a semi.

In a city squeezed for space it’s one of the more apparent examples of what happens when one neighbour goes it alone and sells to a developer.

The family next door have owned the home since the 1990s.

The family next door have owned the home since the 1990s. 

Not surprisingly, the owner of the adjoining, single-level brick home in Lewisham, Vincenzo Scaturro, was less than impressed by his neighbour’s plans.

“[We] weren’t happy with it,” said Mr Scaturro, who along with his family had enjoyed living in 6 William Street since the 1990s.

“But you can’t stop progress and you can’t stop people from doing what they want to.”

The family next door are also now looking to sell to a developer.

The family next door are also now looking to sell to a developer.

Earlier this year, the neighbouring house at No.8 was bought by GL Developments Group Pty Ltd for $1.61 million. It came with a Development Application already approved to demolish the home and build seven apartments in its place.

Since then, the new owners have set about doing just that with the apartments now in the final stages of construction.

The application for the development was put to council in 2014 by former owners Lewisham Estates Pty Ltd but that application was refused. A successful appeal in 2015 saw the Land and Environment Court approve the DA.

Inner West Council has been approached for comment.

Council documents show the new apartment block was always going to be touching the neighbouring house.

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Ray White Commercial NSW senior sales executive Nic George sold 8 William Street earlier this year. He describes the block as “boutique”.

“It’s seven units so a boutique-living style, which is a point of difference compared to Meriton across the road,” he said.

But it’s not the only part of this lucrative pocket of Lewisham that has taken the fancy of developers and now the street’s other residents are looking to make a deal of their own.

Those at the other end of the T-junction from William Street – six homes from 60 to 70 Old Canterbury Road – are about to hit the market to be offered up for redevelopment, Mr George said.

But those on Old Canterbury Road are zoned B4, which requires a mix of commercial and residential properties. The homes on William Street are zoned R4 – a high-density zoning, which is often more lucrative for developers.

This means there’s a good prospect for redeveloping 2, 4 and 6 William Street, the last remaining homes on that stretch. These three properties are all owned by members of the Scaturro family.

Mr Scaturro said they were open to the idea of selling to a developer.

“If we get the right kind of figures,” he said.


Article by: Jennifer Duke / Domain

Photo Credit: Michele Mossop