June 22, 2013

HIGH-PROFILE fashion industry boss and property developer Danny Avidan outbid three parties to snare a prominent inner-city site on the edge of Sydney's CBD at an auction yesterday.

Mr Avidan paid $18 million for the former Legion Cabs site at 69-81 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills, where he plans an $80m mixed-use retail and residential project - his most ambitious property development to date.

Mr Avidan, husband of fashion designer Charlie Brown, owns the Discovery Group, which includes brands such as Charlie Brown, Howard Showers and Princess Charlotte.

Next month he will launch a residential development at Sydney's beachside Tamarama and has 70 per cent sold a block of apartments he developed with Rafi Assouline at Vaucluse, in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

At yesterday's auction, which drew a crowd of about 200, bidding started at $9.88m, with Mr Avidan outmanoeuvring a wealthy Chinese family to score the 1370sq m Foveaux Street site, which has two street frontages.

"We hope to start building as soon as possible. We will be going pretty hard from next week, getting an architect on board; as soon as we get a development application we will start building," Mr Assouline said.

On Fouveaux Street, Mr Assouline envisages ground floor retail and a residential tower, subject to council approval.

Selling agent Dan White of Ray White said under the new Sydney local environment plan the site could be developed for a range of uses including a residential project, an educational institution or corporate headquarters. "There were a lot of developers at the auction, it's a long time since we have had so many developers in the one room bidding. Some did not even get the chance to bid," Mr White said. IPM, Woolworths, Alpha Fund and George Karageorge were among the developers attending. The vendor, Legion Cabs, has committed to a new headquarters at Wolli Creek in Sydney's south and will make the move in the next 12 months.

At Tamarama, Mr Avidan and Mr Assouline are developing 12 luxury units in Fletcher Street. Called The Wave Apartments, it will be launched next month. Prices start at $1m.

At 19 Young Street, Vaucluse, the partners are developing 14 units. They paid $3.8m for the site in late 2010. In Queensland, Mr Avidan has developed apartments in Mackay as well as at Sorrento on the Gold Coast.

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