Australand to Develop Royal Park Psychiatric Institute Buildings in Parkville

The joint venture bought the inner-city hospital site from the State Government about five years ago, and was given permission to develop the “Parkville Gardens” housing estate, in return for providing temporary accommodation for Commonwealth Games athletes and families, for the 11 day event in 2006.

Australand couldn’t bulldoze the red brick pavilion buildings, constructed between 1906 and 1937, because they are included on the State Heritage Register. Instead it has converted them into apartments starting at $385,000 for a one-bedroom.

Perhaps Australand could take some cues from rival developer Central Equity on successful ways to convert insalubrious institutions into apartments.

In the mid 1990s, Central Equity purchased Kew’s former Willsmere psychiatric hospital for $2.75 million. It converted the prominent mansion which can be seen driving along the Eastern Freeway – and a substantial portion of its rear gardens into a $30 million townhouse, units and apartments project which now resembles a holiday resort.

The 27-hectare Kew Cottages site, Australia’s largest and oldest institution for people with an intellectual disability, is also being developed in a housing estate near Willsmere.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of