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Lend Lease stands by Serrata

30 Jun 2010

Lend Lease stands by Serrata Image

By Shane Scanlan

Lend Lease has acknowledged that it did not consult the Victoria Harbour community before announcing the controversial Serrata project, but says the system is to blame.

Vivas Lend Lease executive director Hugh Martin said the way development worked in Docklands was to first get Government approval, and then inform the community.

Mr Martin said Lend Lease was extremely sensitive to community criticism because it prided itself on its corporate responsibility.

“Yes, we are a developer. But we have a corporate agenda which is really focussed on sustainability and doing the right thing by the community,” he said.

Some Mosaic and Montage owners adjacent to the Serrata development at 815  Bourke St have threatened legal action over what they claim was misrepresentation before they purchased their apartments.

They say they were told that the development would be low-rise and would be for community purposes.  Serrata is a 15-storey development housing 144 apartments and 68 car spaces. The majority of apartments are 50 square metre, single-bedroom units without car parking.  

Lend Lease says a remaining block between Serrata and Mosaic/Montage would still be used for community purposes.

Mr Martin said the company regretted getting neighbouring residents off-side.  But he said, from what he had been told, he believed no misrepresentations were made.

“We’ve gone through quite a serious discussion with sales people and agents to make sure that representation was above board and I think it’s fair to say that when you are dealing with third party consultants you don’t always have the ability to put your hand on your heart and say that wasn’t the case but we are told by our sales people that they did not misrepresent,”
he said.

“At the end of the day I guess it’s one word against another but we don’t want to be put in that situation,” he said.  “We are very comfortable from what we have ascertained that there was no misrepresentation given.”

Serrata grew out of a new master plan for Victoria Harbour which, while approved by the Government, will be revealed for the first time to the pubic this month.  

Mr Martin said Lend Lease had been “encouraged” to increase residential density in the precinct.

Asked why the developer had not revealed the master plan before announcing Serrata, Mr Martin said: “You can’t display a master plan until its approved.”

“Do you pre-empt things by going to the community before the Government has approved it? It’s a Government-driven site.  We find ourselves between a rock and a hard place.  It’s very difficult,” he said.

“There has been consultation but probably not with the public as it should have been and that may be because of the unique way that Victoria Harbour is set up.  I don’t want to be critical of that, but that’s how it works.”

“You can’t roll out a master plan unless you can deliver it,” Mr Martin said.

“The one thing that developers have been bad at and we’re trying to get better at it is community consultation.  You can’t just put up boards around a room and say ‘thanks, we’re showing you’.”

“It’s a difficult process to work in but we’re determined to have the best development outcome for all.  It’s not about buildings here.  It’s about place making and creating communities.”

Resident Frank Ruggiero said: “Lend Lease has ignored our requests, and disregarded our concerns about their representations.”

“Accordingly, the interested parties have now co-ordinated a strategy and are implementing that strategy to achieve Lend Lease’s initial representations made when the company was marketing and seeking to sell the Mosaic and Montage apartments.”

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  • Gaye Pearson at 1:31pm on 07/07/10

    I think all the planning bodies of Docklands and Victoria Harbour take NO consideration to traffic congestion.
    They create an area with very narrow roads then keep building with no sense of reality - that every office or apartment will bring cars into the area...owners, workers and visitors commuting.
    They seem to think everyone will travel by TRAM which is NOT THE CASE.
  • Francis Ruggiero at 6:00am on 21/08/10

    Is it possible Mr. Martin that the Lend Lease sales team have not informed you correctly about the representations made to buyers of Mosaic and Montage?
    If you were one of those buyers, what action would you take to protect Docklands?

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