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Stable to transform old ‘Wrigley’ factory in Sydney’s Rosebery


Mark Westfield

Stable Group will incorporate a solar-powered internal electricity network designed to substantially reduce strata fees in its re-development of the old Wrigley Chewing Gum factory in Rosebery. ‘The Burcham’ will become an iconic mixed residential/retail complex.

Centrepiece of “The Burcham” - named after the original architectural firm that designed the Wrigleys building in 1918 - will be the retention by Stable of the heritage-listed structure to be extensively renovated and converted to 44 residential apartments. The project will also include two new apartment buildings (one 4 storeys, the other 5) either side of the original building taking the total number of apartments to 99, plus a ground floor retail/commercial unit.

The Wrigleys building on Crewe Place was one of the first steel reinforced all-concrete buildings in Australia, and the first Wrigley factory outside the US. It was described in a media report at the time as one of “the most modern factories in the Southern Hemisphere”. The Wrigley Company moved out in the 1950s, and more recently the building and a single storey warehouse on the site has been used by wine merchants Samuel Smith and Sons. The warehouse area, added well after the original building, will be demolished to make way for the new buildings. All three buildings on the site will contain a mix of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments.

The Property Council recently awarded the Brookvale, Sydney, Stable Group “Residential Building of the Year” for its “Triptych” residential building in Collins St Melbourne, which included a co-generation system for heating and lighting the building and extensive common outside areas.

Apart from the solar array and the embedded internal electricity network promising “very low” power costs for the Body Corporate, the so-called “Burcham Energy” system will on-sell surplus power to owners and tenants at prices expected to be well below the retail network. The entire building is supplied by power through a single meter and this will enable the Body Corporate to negotiate favourable bulk rates for the component of power that will still be required from the outside network suppliers. The overall saving to the Body Corporate and residents is expected to be about 20 per cent below the “lowest” retail costs. Stable expects this to reflect in the prices buyers are willing to pay for the apartments.

The complex will also have an electric vehicle charging bay, charged by the solar array, and water harvesting for common area gardens and toilets. Other features include biometric (fingerprint technology) access to the buildings, number plate recognition to allow or, alternatively disallow, access, and remote access for visitors using smartphones in the roof entertainment area. This area will include a rooftop cinema and two large BBQ areas.

The Burcham, which has commenced construction, has a gross revenue of $110 million and is being senior debt funded by ANZ, with second tier financing provided by Qualitas. 

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