Roxy-Pacific refutes media reports that said it demolished historic facade without approval

SINGAPORE - Property and hospitality group Roxy-Pacific Holdings has refuted Australian media reports that said it had demolished much of the historic facade of an inner-city building without approval from the City of Sydney Council.

The group told the Singapore Exchange in a filing on Wednesday that it has been diligent in the planning, design and construction processes for The Hensley development in Potts Point, Sydney.

This was to ensure "absolute respect of the original building features of the building, with a commitment to preserving the history of the site and maintaining the safety of its workers and the general public".

Roxy-Pacific said the group has been working closely with the Council since receiving development approval on the project, following the sales launch in June 2016, to make sure that certain original building elements such as the facade were retained or rebuilt.

In addition to retaining certain features of the facade, the development approval also allowed the removal of certain elements in order to create openings in the facade for apartment balconies, terraces and a two-storey entry void into the main building, it noted.

Roxy-Pacific said that as part of this adaptive re-use construction, which was approved by the Council, parts of the facade will be rebuilt along with the roof structure to maintain its original form.

However, due to the age of the facade, all dilapidated timber and unstable masonry structures were required to be either removed or retained under the instruction of the project's structural engineer. This is to ensure that the completed building meets the Building Codes of Australia and Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) requirements.

It added: "Roxy-Pacific has consulted with the Council and were advised that the works currently being carried out on site are in accordance with the development approval and Council has no issues.

"As for the works carried out previously in relation to removal of the column and spandrel which were unstable during the demolition process, Council has decided to issue Roxy Pacific with a fine for carrying out these works without development consent and close the matter."

Roxy-Pacific said it reserves the rights to refute the fine under OH&S grounds. All works are continuing as per normal.

It added that the development plan for The Hensley - a boutique block of 44 apartments and one retail space - has not been changed from the original approval. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.