Macleay Regis 12 Macleay Street Potts Point is arguably amongst the grandest of the large inter war apartment blocks to have been constructed in metropolitan Sydney, with a high standard of finish and a spaciousness notably absent in many inter war apartment buildings. The building was constructed by the contracting firm of Alex Speers & Sons Ltd. The building was almost complete by the end of February 1939, at a cost in excess of £100,000. 15 It certainly impressed a number of contemporary observers, including the editor of the architectural journal Building: “The name of “Macleay-Regis” has been given to one of the largest – if not the largest – block of flats in Sydney that has recently risen to dominate the land of flats. The title – virtually “King of Macleay Street” – is certainly appropriate because this building towers head and shoulders above its surrounding neighbours and is visible from all sides.”16 The building originally contained 87 apartments and a substantial penthouse. There were ten apartments on a typical level, six containing one bedroom and four containing two bedrooms.
There were also private garages, a “community” garage and shops. A “service kitchen” was located on the eighth floor17 from which meals could be supplied to any of the apartments. The lower ground floor contained both apartments and utility rooms – laundries, drying rooms, a boiler room and store rooms.18 The building boasted a high level of residential amenity that included a concierge who resided within the building, an internal telephone system that connected occupants to the hairdresser, pharmacy and florist located on the ground floor, and maid service (the maid entered apartments through the serveries shared between two apartments). Ground floor shops had not initially been considered. A drawing describing the façade of the building approved by Council on 13 October 1937 shows the main entrance flanked by openings containing roller shutters to garages. However, a drawing approved by Council on 21 December 1937 shows two shops on the northern side of the main entrance, and there were three shops in the completed building. The siting of Macleay Regis on the building line, a feature shared by other inter war apartment blocks in Elizabeth Bay and Potts Point, certainly facilitated the provision of shops19 but negated the garden settings that characterise the prestigious blocks along the northern part of Elizabeth Bay Road.