076 Oct 2015 | The Australian | Samantha Hutchinson
Builder Watpac is close to clinching the $257 million building contract for Country Garden's first major residential development in Australia.
The Chinese development giant on Monday appointed the local builder as its preferred contractor at its North Ryde project known as Ryde Garden, which will have 830 apartments.
The appointment is a major coup for Watpac, which has grown its residential construction business considerably in past years working on apartment projects for the likes of Frasers at Central Park on the edge of the Sydney CBD and Trio in inner- Sydney Camperdown.
But the builder argues the handsome contract is a sign of things to come for the local industry, which is enjoying an uplift as a swag of deep-pocketed Chinese developers including Dalian Wanda, Golden Horse and China Poly Group inch closer to turning the sod at sprawling apartment projects.
"A strong demand for highand medium-density residential property especially in Queensland and NSW, is driving an increase in activity within the sector," Watpac chief executive Martin Monroe said.
"The difference being, however, that offshore developers are benefiting from a falling Australian dollar."
Watpac development manager Rick Wang predicts Chinese developers building apartments will make up to 50 per cent of the group's project pipeline during the next three years.