A Review of Melbourne Apartment Projects: Those Marketed; Those Canned

INCENTIVES offered to stimulate apartment construction during the economic downturn, such as record low interest rates, and first home owner grants, have resulted in some of the city’s biggest, boldest apartment-based projects being offered to the market.

But not all developers could get their projects out of the ground.

Domain took a look at some of the more ambitious redevelopment proposals launched, and canned, since its last Apartment Guide, in Spring 2010:

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Century Old Abbotsford School Set to Become Apartments

IT WILL be the end of another era in Abbotsford when apartment builders redevelop the property known for more than a century as the St Joseph’s Technical School.

The prominent site at 73 – 103 Nicholson Street, at the intersection of Mollison and Little Charles streets, has sold for more than $9 million to a developer.

Operating between 1893 and 1990 under the auspice of the Christian Brothers, and more recently as a campus for Steiner school Sofia Mundi, the 4800 square metre inner-city site was offloaded by the Roman Catholic Trust Corporation for the Diocese of Melbourne.

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17-Level Apartment Tower Mooted Near Collingwood’s Victoria Park Stadium

SOON, Melbourne’s eyesore commission flat towers might not be the tallest buildings within their suburbs.

Far from being daunted by new planning minister Matthew Guy shredding of the Brumby government’s problematic Melbourne 2030 planning policy (which he argued in Opposition treated metropolitan Melbourne like one giant development zone), residential developers are still proposing big, bold buildings. This is despite Melbourne planning being a relative state of limbo until a new planning strategy is formulated.

This time, in Magpie land and near the Victoria Park stadium (pictured) and train station, a proposal has been lodged to build a 204-unit residential village with ground floor shops and a 17-level tower.

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Australian Education Union Spends $16 Million on Neighbouring Abbotsford Office

THE Victorian Branch of the Australian Education Union, presided by Mary Bluett, may need to rely on fee revenue from government educators to pay off a spectacularly located office building it has purchased on the banks of the Yarra River in Abbotsford – next door to its current HQ.

The AEU’s off-market acquisition comes three years after the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria paid about $6 million for a massive art-deco office complex in Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne, and some two years since the National Union of Workers paid almost $7 million for a Bourke Street, Docklands head office.

The AEU is headquartered at a large building at 112 Trenerry Crescent, and rents out surplus office space. That building could be extended, and the site has redevelopment potential, sources say.

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Melbourne’s Riverside About to Undergo Apartment Building Boom

RIVERSIDE Kew and Hawthorn residents share a phenomenon with Williamstown and Footscray residents – whereby eyesore factories on prime waterfront sites are tolerated because “they are better than flats”.

While remediation may prevent redevelopment of some western suburb industrial sites, however, plans are advanced to build new residential villages on former commercial blocks along the Yarra River, and particularly in Abbotsford.

Macquarie Capital is the latest developer to capitalise on the imminent riverside building boom, offering for sale a 5264 square metre block at 16 Flockhart Street with a permit for a 310 unit skyscraper village within a 12-storey complex (pictured, right).

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Mirvac Signs STA Travel to Southbank Office

FOR the moment, residents in Southbank’s most exclusive skyscrapers can relax knowing their million dollar city views are preserved.

Sydney-based property giant Mirvac has signed tour enterprise STA Travel to a nine-year lease at a low rise office within a riverfront compound at Riverside Quay.

The Mirvac offices are on blue ribbon parcels of land abutting the Yarra River. At the moment the buildings are limited by a height restriction, however several long standing zonings have been removed, in the pro-development era that has ensued since the problematic Melbourne 2030 policy.

Inevitable high rise redevelopment of these Mirvac sites down the track will block postcard views currently enjoyed by residents at Eureka, Freshwater Place and other skyscrapers nearby.

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Salta Buys Residential Development Site in Congested Inner-City Precinct

IN PEAK hour, in a car and behind the crammed trams – the retail strip that is Victoria Street, where Richmond meets Abbotsford can be one of the most congested roads in Melbourne to drive through.

And traffic is expected to move a bit slower in coming years, as more residents move to Victoria Street, in complexes being developed on the former Going Going Gone site, the Honeywell office site, and another property opposite the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre, on the south-west corner of Burnley Street.

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Historic Harold Boot Company Factory, Abbotsford, Demolished For Commission Flats

YET to be replaced Federal Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner may be moving out the marginal Melbourne electorate he quit last month, but a plunder of new residents are waiting to call the area home. A construction crew is currently demolishing the historic Harold Boot Company factory at the south-west corner of Nicholson

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Australand to Sell Riverfront Site Near Victoria Park Stadium

AUSTRALAND is selling a 4000 square metre inner-city development site, wedged between Collingwood Football Club’s Victoria Park stadium, and the Yarra River.

The Abbotsford property at 80 – 110 Trenerry Crescent, will be sold with a permit for a nine-level residential building, with 94 units.

Australand has already developed townhouses on part of the site, which is near Dights Falls, and next to the prominent Australian Education Union Victorian Branch offices.

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More Commission Flats for Abbotsford

ANOTHER former commercial building in Abbotsford is being converted into a major residential project.

The former Harold Boot Company factory, at the corner of Gipps and Nicholson streets, is being redeveloped by Common Equity Housing Limited, and the Office of Housing, into a $25 million, five-storey, 59-unit complex.

Twenty five apartments – representing just over 40 per cent of the overall project – will be set aside as public housing, part of the Federal Government’s plan to build 80,000 social and affordable dwellings nationally by 2012.

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Abbotsford’s Terminus Hotel Latest in a String of Melbourne Pubs to Sell

ABBOTSFORD’s prominent green Terminus Hotel has sold to an owner occupier for a price speculated to be about $5.5 million.

The pub, often touted as being in Richmond because it sits at the suburb border (Victoria Street) was sold by Jones Lang LaSalle’s Mathew George in an off-market campaign.

The Terminus is the latest in a string of pubs to be put up for sale recently.

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Hamton, ISPT Forge With Plans to Develop $200 Million Riverfront Village, Abbotsford

THE development consortium which bought three low-rise offices on the banks of the Yarra River, is forging ahead with plans to demolish two of the buildings, and replace the space with a $200 million residential village.
 
Developers Hamton and Industry Superannuation Property Trust have started marketing apartments at 677 – 679 Victoria Street, opposite the Victoria Gardens shopping centre in Abbotsford, at the suburb border of Kew and Hawthorn.

The developers are reported to have paid Becton about $30 million for the office complex late last year, outmuscling traditional property investors sniffing the market out at the time for good bargains.

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