Soho isn’t just a trendy district or brand but also an emerging revenue strategy about to make its Sydney debut. 

High-profile developer Billbergia is planning a ground-breaking Soho— Small Office Home Office—element within its $170-million precinct at Chatswood on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.

The developer’s Soho strategy will give apartment buyers the option to also buy office space within a shared podium in the precinct, literally taking work-from-home to a new level. 

Billbergia development director Rick Graf says this is a first attempt, post-Covid, to service the working-from-home opportunity in a serious way. 

“We’re confident with the work we’ve done that there is a demand for this—and we’re sure it will be followed by many,” Graf says. 

“This is a first. We’ve also got more study spaces within each apartment for people who will just have their apartment and do their work from home internally. 

“For those who want to set up a more serious ongoing structure of hybrid working, the mix of facilities in the building will give them the opportunity to do that. 

“It differentiates from regular residential and has the coffee shops and other amenities—but also a serious capacity to do the Soho exercise.”

An artistic impression of how the two towers will look like.
A render of the two 27-storey apartment towers planned by Billbergia for Chatswood on the Lower North Shore.

The Sydney-based developer picked up the site, its first in Chatswood, 18 months ago at 8 Wilson Street, at the northern tip of the suburb’s centre. 

It is drawing up plans with PBD Architects before filing with the Willoughby City Council. 

The proposed development comprises 251 apartments across two slender 27-storey towers above a two-storey commercial podium. 

The podium includes retail space, commercial showrooms, the Soho space, and a 70-place childcare centre. 

The plans also include a pool, private rooftop spaces and a through-site pedestrian link. 

Billbergia development director planning and design Saul Moran anticipates the curated live-work design will resonate with the North Shore market. 

“It will embody our long-standing focus on quality and liveability, while delivering a new transport-oriented community in Sydney’s north,” Moran says. 

“This project will feature innovative live-work typologies and deliver critically needed new housing along with next-generation commercial spaces.”

PBD Architects managing director Paul Buljevic says solar photovoltaic panels, rainwater harvesting and thermal buffers were part of the design. 

“The criteria for the project’s design competition placed a strong emphasis on sustainability,” Buljevic says. 

Once approved, construction of the Chatswood towers is expected to begin in late 2024. 

It has been quite a month for Billbergia—The Urban Developer reported this week that it had filed plans for its Rhodes East precinct at 25-27 Leeds Street, comprising six buildings. 

In July, The Urban Developer reported changes in planning had lead to a slew of projects put up for the Lower North Shore suburb. 

The pace has hardly slackened for the suburb 10km north of the Sydney CBD since. 

In August, prominent developers the Vakili family filed plans for mixed-use towers with the Willoughby City Council for the evolving Chatswood CBD. 

Harry and Jilla Vakili’s plans comprise 27-storey and 18-storey towers over a shared podium for the project, dubbed the Aeon, at 3 McIntosh, 2 Day and 40-42 Anderson streets on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. 

Also that month, it was reported Novus was pushing ahead with plans for a 32-storey mixed-use development at the corner the Pacific Highway and Albert Avenue. 

The Novus on Albert proposal would comprise 220 build-to-rent apartments above ground-floor retail, two basement carparking levels and communal amenities on level 2 and 29. 

Last month, plans were lodged for a 27-storey residential building at 691-699 Pacific Highway by a vehicle of Sydney development company Develotek. 

Those plans would deliver 100 apartments—14 one-bedroom, 66 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom apartments, with a total of 10850sq m and a typical floor plate size under 450 square metres. 

And the news broke this month that retail property giant Vicinity Centres had snapped up the remaining half of Sydney mall Chatswood Chase in a $307-million deal.

Head office:
Billbergia Pty Ltd
25 Angas St, Meadowbank NSW 2114

Billbergia Sales Office:
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Shop 5, 6 Walker Street, Rhodes NSW 2138

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