Upon completion later this year, the $50 million tower will rise 25 levels and include 280 flats, many which the Melbourne City Council notes will have bedrooms relying on “borrowed light” presumably from a living room. The complex will also include 69 car parks.
Since federal legislative changes in 2008, developers can sell 100% of apartments “off the plan” to offshore based investors. Similarly, in cases like 206 A’Beckett Street, offshore based developers can retain all units within a project, and still get it approved for construction – selling flats, if they like, at a more buoyant time in the market.
Under the previous Howard government – and in an attempt to maintain affordability, competitiveness and keep first-home buyers in the market – foreign investors were limited to owning just 50 per cent of apartments within new complexes.
Since 2008, but especially since last year, buyer’s advocates have voiced concerns apartment prices in some inner-city complexes are over-inflated by up to 50 per cent.
Because of the lack of regulation, they warn more developers are heading overseas to market their projects, or not even bothering to offer slabs of a complex locally. City agents say the Queen Victoria Market apartment precinct in particular is buoyed by foreign investors, and renters, particularly from Asia.
Ironically, at the same time this trend is taking place, Melbourne’s median apartment value has been surging – forcing the government to use taxpayer funds buying sites it can redevelop into affordable housing.
According to council documents the 206 A’Beckett Street application was initially managed by Fitzroy-based planning group Lateral, which also features an image of the building on its website as a key project. Project manager Warren Doyle declined to comment saying it is no longer employed by the developer. Images of the building also appear on the website of builder Merkon Constructions.
Construction of 206 A’Beckett Street started last year. The tower is next door to the proposed Dynasty Living tower.
Another development site in the immediate area, overlooking Flagstaff Gardens, is owned by local developer Ubertas, which made headlines last year employing Julia Gillard’s partner, Tim Mathieson, as an in-house real estate agent.