One of Australia’s major residential developers believes a northern Sydney suburb better known for its office space has the fundamentals in place to become a flourishing residential market.

Developer Mirvac is banking that transport infrastructure, healthcare facilities, schooling options and lifestyle factors will make its first venture north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in more than a two years a successful one.

Mirvac last week unveiled plans for the St Leonards Square development that will see two apartment towers standing 28 and 38 storeys replace the existing commercial buildings at 472-486 Princes Highway St Leonards.

Stage one of the project, which will feature a total of 500 apartments, will be launched in March and Mirvac development director – apartments Adrian Checchin said the developer is expecting strong interest from buyers across all sectors.

“To date we’ve had really strong interest in the project. The data we’ve got from our VIP client base is very encouraging and I don’t think we’ll struggle to find buyers,” Checchin said.

“We see buyers being a combination of owner-occupiers and investors. For the home owners, it’s a great chance to find a place to live that is pretty close to the Sydney CBD, while we think there are the fundamentals here in St Leonards that will make it attractive to investors,” he said.

While the St Leonards venture is the first for Mirvac on the north side of the harbour in years, the region hasn’t been ignored by developers, with suburbs such as Chatswood experiencing a boom of activity and Checchin believes surrounding areas will benefit from that.

“If you look at what’s happening in Chatswoood, the demand is there for apartments but there just isn’t enough capacity to meet that demand,” he said.

“Because of that we looked around and thought where is the place that’s going to go next? Looking at St Leonards, it’s a suburb we really see taking off. It’s already got great public transport access thanks to the train line and that’s only going to improve when the new metro line comes through.”

While Checchin said the fundamentals evident in St Leonards helped to bring Mirvac to the suburb, he also said Lane Cove Council’s vision for the suburb played a major role.

Lane Cove Lord Mayor Deborah Hutchens said her council’s vision for St Leonards would see the suburb undergo a transformation of sorts.

“To some extent we see St Leonards changing from an area that’s though of a business hub. We think there’s a great opportunity for residential and mixed-use developments in the area,” Hutchens said.

“We’ve got plans to redevelop and upgrade the rail plaza and bring some real energy to the area. We want to see a bit of culture change so that people see the area as a place they can live, work and play,” she said.

“Our concept for the plaza will see a bus interchange that will help to better connect St Leonards to the surrounding suburbs and really help us revitalise the are.”