In what could be the final chapter of the Sirius saga, the building’s last remaining resident has been told by the NSW state government to pack her bags. When 91-year-old Myra Demetriou leaves her apartment for the last time this Thursday, the brutalist icon will sit empty for the first time in almost 40 years. But with a lucrative sale looming, Save Our Sirius (SOS) chairperson, Shaun Carter, has revealed a last-ditch plan to protect the contentious building from redevelopment.
At a farewell for the outgoing Demetriou this weekend, Carter announced the community group’s intention to buy the building to rescue it from circling developers. Despite massive public backlash and a controversial court case, the state government ignored the unanimous advice of the Heritage Council and listed the building for sale in December.
“We believe we can find enough community support to take on the vital role that the government is vacating," Carter tells Broadsheet. “Sirius was designed to offer affordable housing in the city where it’s needed. We find it odd that government claims to be committed to social housing but is keen to flog off something that’s purpose-built and costs them nothing,” he says.
With an estimated price tag of $100 million, Carter is hoping to attract funding from community groups and corporations with social capital to invest. If successful, SOS will revitalise the building and retain affordable housing as a priority.
"We are looking broadly across different types of funding and development models right now. We are in conversations with various groups and organisations who are willing to put that money forward to help,” says Carter. “If there is some capacity to crowdsource funding, we’re looking to see that we can provide a facility for individuals to have some involvement too.”
If the bid fails, the local Miller’s Point community fears redevelopment will not only mean the end of affordable public housing in the CBD, but the razing of an architecturally significant, if polarising, brutalist icon.