A sign written completely in Mandarin out the front of a new $35 million apartment complex has been covered up with black garbage bags and tape, just a day after it sparked controversy.
The large sign out the front of the recently completed apartments on Cliff Road in Epping, in Sydney’s north, caused a stir over the weekend for being completely written in a foreign language.
Developers of the five-storey apartment block admitted the sign and other symbolism inside the complex was a deliberate tactic to target Chinese investors, claiming it made the building more ‘spiritual’.
A sign written completely in Mandarin outside a $35 million apartment complex has been covered up after it sparked fury over the weekend
The large sandstone construction was named after a Chinese centre of educational excellence, Han Ling Yuan, in the hope to create a ‘spiritual’ feel
The building was named by developers Arise Constructions after an ancient Chinese centre of educational excellence, Han Ling Yuan, the Daily Telegraph reports.
A spokesman defended the company’s decision to leave off an English translation – drawing a connection with the complex’s close proximity to education institutions.
‘There are lots of high ranking schools in the Epping area and that is why we put the name on the project,’ John Zhang said.
‘It is spiritual. It is a wish for people who stay in these apartments to have a good education. Most of the clients are local Chinese.’
Parramatta Council has launched an investigation into the sign, with one councilor labeling it ‘offensive’ and calling on English to be added.
The large sign is positioned out the front of the recently completed apartments on Cliff Road in Epping, in Sydney’s north
A spokesman defended the developer’s decision to leave off an English translation, admitting it was targeting the Chinese market
‘This is using our schools to sell apartments to people who do not speaking our language; it is offensive,’ Cr Lorraine Wearne said.
‘It really bothers me and clearly bothers residents in Epping.’
The council approved an application for the sign to be installed with Chinese characters, but specified it should not be visible from the street.
A spokesperson for the council told Daily Mail Australia they had not covered up the sign.
‘Council is continuing its investigation into this matter and will consider what action is necessary at the conclusion of its investigation,’ a spokesman said.
Nearby resident Kate Chivers was angered by the sign, suggesting a crude message to Australians could be written on it with no-one’s knowledge.
Parramatta Council has launched an investigation into the sign, and one councilor labelled it ‘offensive’
‘Every time we look up the street we are greeted with this glaring sign in Chinese. As far as I’m concerned the sign could say ‘stuff you Aussies’.
The complex sits in the federal seat of Bennelong, where more than 20 per cent of residents have Chinese ancestry – making it the dominant ethnic group.
Also included as part of attempts by developers to make the apartment block more appealing to overseas buyers is a large courtyard with a yin and yang symbol and a traditional fish pond.
It came as one local resident who has lived in the neighbourhood for the past 20 years told Daily Mail Australia they were left feeling ‘uncomfortable’ by being unable to read the sign.
‘I have travelled to China and Hong Kong a lot and have never had an issue, because all the street signs are in Mandarin and English,’ the woman said.
The council approved an application for the sign to be installed with Chinese characters, but specified it should not be visible from the street
‘But my issue with that sign is it’s completely in Mandarin and I looked at it and thought: ‘I don’t know what that says’.
‘If it’s courtesy in China to also have English on signs, why isn’t it the same here?
‘If it says ‘happiness’ or something that’s fine, put it underneath so I know and feel more comfortable.’
A quick look around the area revealed that the covered up sign out the front of the apartment complex isn’t the only one not to be written English.
Billboards out the front of other already completed unit blocks in the quiet residential street are covered in Mandarin symbols.
On one a real estate agent seemingly appeals to Asian as a priority, using symbols on the upper half of the sign before copying the message into English as an afterthought.
A quick look around the area reveals the sign out the front of the apartment complex isn’t the only one not to be written English
Businesses in one of the main retail precincts in the suburb have also followed suit, displaying their names on shop fronts with symbols and also English.
Clearly targeting international tenants and investors, a local real estate agent said many of those who have already snapped up the units were from overseas.
She said the proximity of the one, two and three bedroom units – which will sell for up to $1.5 million each – to schools, university and public transport had made them hot property.
‘You’re in the school zone with both primary and public schools nearby,’ the agent said.
‘A lot of people from China are buying and coming over with their kids or sending their kids over.
‘Also students at (Macquarie) University are often looking to rent because it’s close to trains and buses too.’
Several other businesses in the area hang non-English signage out the front of their establishments
And it seems that the Gondon Elysee block is only the beginning, with more large scale developments set to spring up alongside it in the area.
Houses directly opposite the apartments and on neighbouring streets have been recently snapped up by developers, with temporary fencing signaling imminent construction.
It was the first time Douglas Driscoll, CEO of Western Sydney’s Starr Partners, had seen developers target a specific ethnic group.
‘I think it will become more commonplace. It does have the potential to exclude other local buyers,’ Mr Driscoll said.
‘I would be put off buying it because you would assume that it is only for Mandarin speaking people.’