The NSW Government’s $1 billion investment in Frenchs Forest and the Northern Beaches Hospital has created excellent opportunities for local landowners, businesses and commercial real estate owners.
With the 488-bed hospital – which will care for both public and private patients – due for completion in late 2018, major roadworks are well underway and extensive rezoning of the area has been proposed by council, which sees Frenchs Forest becoming the strategic centre for the Northern Beaches over the next 20 years and beyond.
The council’s Hospital Precinct Structure Plan includes new commercial and retail precincts with a three-phase rollout. It forecasts that 5360 new homes will be built and 2300 new jobs created over the next 10 years. If an east-west B-Line bus route and the spit bridge tunnel are built, the proposal is for 10,000 homes in 20 years.
The plan commits to “15 per cent affordable rental housing target as part of any redevelopment of the future town centre and a 10 per cent target applicable for the remaining rezoned area”.
Phase one of council’s plan includes a five-year rollout of 3000 new dwellings, although it proposes no changes to the zoning of the Business Park east of Wakehurst Parkway.
“While there are no changes to the existing land use zone, this [business] precinct is able to grow and mature under its current zoning,” the plan states, while also recommending that an employment development Plan be prepared.
Medical industry already following
The employment development plan will likely factor the large medical industry such as medical centres and specialist consultants such as cardiologists, physiotherapists and dieticians that will follow the hospital, according to Pine Property director, Patrick Kelleher.
“We have already seen that with the proposed new major medical centre development at 11 Tiley Lane, offering multiple health care services, basement car parking, signage and landscaping,” he said.
Mr Kelleher expects this to increase once the infrastructure changes are nearing completion and the hospital is more advanced but says there is already strong interest the area.
Asked which locations are most popular, he said that all of Frenchs Forest is of interest to medical businesses, with larger operators preferring sites within a few minutes’ drive of the hospital.
State Government review:
The precinct plan is now being reviewed by the State Government who is conducting further planning studies in collaboration with council and other government departments. They will finalise the plan and provide gazettal later in 2018.
This means the exact zoning of the area has not yet been determined, although NSW Planning and Environment says implementing phase one is a key focus and they will “fast-track jobs, infrastructure and services needed to support the precinct’s growing community”.
And the lack of zoning clarity has not stopped development and rezoning applications, like the recent proposal for 1-3 Rodborough Rd to rezone a business park to allow for 70-metre high buildings, 840 apartments, 15,000 square metres of retail space and a large hotel.
However the application was met with strong opposition from councillors and former prime minister, Tony Abbott, who said “we are full and we are fed up”.
While the State Government’s gazettal later in 2018 may or may not amend proposed zoning in the council’s plan, these applications are a sign of what is to come and Frenchs Forest should be on the radar for all northern beaches business owners and investors.
Council’s Structure Plan summary: (currently under review by the State Government):
- Frenchs Forest will be the strategic centre for the Northern Beaches over the next 20 years and beyond.
- The hospital will be the highest building in the precinct, at 41 metres however already we have seen developers pushing that 30 metres higher with the Rodborough Rd rezoning application.
- Frenchs Forest’s new town centre will be built adjacent to the hospital in place of the Forest High School, which will be relocated next to the Warringah Aquatic Centre.
- Warringah Aquatic Centre will remain in its existing location after community uproar following the announcement it would be relocated to the town centre.
- A transport interchange is “envisioned” to be incorporated into the redevelopment of the town centre.
There are $500 million of road upgrades around the new Northern Beaches Hospital. Details and regular updates can be found at the RMS. In summary the road changes are:
- Widening of Warringah Road and the construction of a tunnel bypassing Wakehurst Parkway and Forestway intersections | To be completed end of 2019.
- Widening of Frenchs Forest Road and Naree Roads | To be completed October 2018 in time for hospital opening
- Aquatic Drive to be connected to Wakehurst Parkway | To be completed by around April 2018 “unless there are any delays”.
- Improvement of the Allambie Road and Warringah Road intersection | To be completed by July 2018