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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Forza Capital Pays $20.6 Million For Carlton Office

FORZA Capital, the new investment vehicle created by breakaway Drapac senior directors Ashley Wain and Adam Murchie  have made another commercial property play – paying $20.6 million for a low-rise office with redevelopment potential adjacent to the Exhibition Gardens and Melbourne Museum.

The five-level office (pictured, right) with 175 basement car parks at 15-31 Pelham Street in Carlton, near the CBD border, returns $1.74 million in annual rent and sold on a yield of 8.4 per cent.

Much of the asset’s value lies in its development potential – with the 3772 square metre block able to accommodate three or more major towers down the track.  Carlton accommodates some of Melbourne’s most dense accommodation, configured as studios, or student accommodation.  In 2010 local developer Grocon proposed a 280-metre, 89-level tower with 800 flats for a nearby Carlton site. It developed Victoria’s tallest skyscraper – the 297-metre 90-level Eureka Tower in Southbank, with 556 flats.

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Grocon Unveils Carbon Neutral, Wooden Inner-City Apartment Complex

MELBOURNE based developer Grocon has unveiled plans for a carbon neutral apartment complex built entirely from timber.

The complex, Delta (pictured, right) will be developed on the former Carlton United Brewery site, on the Carlton-CBD suburb border.

Delta will include 50 flats, and be one storey taller than a similar tall timber structure, the Stadthaus in Hackney, East London, which currently holds the title as the tallest building of its type in the world.

Copied below is a Grocon statement about Delta:

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Australand Consortium to Build Apartment Compound Opposite Melbourne Uni

GIVEN the increasing number of apartment dwellers calling Melbourne’s inner north home, a “direct” trip between the Tullamarine and Eastern freeways – via the zoo and cemetery – can now consume motorist’s an hour, or more, largely because of amplified traffic congestion.

But it would appear in government planning meetings, bottlenecks like that around Elliott Avenue, Macarthur Road and the University of Melbourne have received less consideration than other crisis-ridden road systems – like the ones in suburbs between Seaford and Mt Martha where the $759 million (and many say unnecessary) Peninsula Link was recently given the green light.

Instead, the state government has appointed builder Australand to develop a major apartment compound at one of the inner-city’s last remaining vacant development sites, opposite the Melbourne General Cemetery, the University of Melbourne – and the busy roundabout that connects these two sites to Swanston Street.

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Grocon Proposes 90-Level Skyscraper For Disused CUB Site, Carlton

THE Melbourne CBD skyline will have a Eureka of the north, if a proposed 90-storey skyscraper is granted approval, on part of the former Carlton and United Brewery site, in Carlton, and on the cusp of the city grid.

The building will include 800 apartments and soar 280 metres, making it slightly shorter than the landmark Eureka tower, in Southbank – which rises 89 levels and has 550 apartments.

Dubbed by developer Grocon as the DCM building, in honour of architect firm Denton Corker Marshall, the land had originally been earmarked to become an office building, before the economic downturn.

Grocon owns a majority of the undeveloped site, hidden behind bluestone walls. It bought the 1.6 hectare site from RMIT for $39 million in 2006. RMIT retained a small portion of the block.

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Nurses Board of Victoria to Reap More than $12.5 Million From Two Adjoining Melbourne CBD Offices

RESIDENTIAL developers are circling two adjoining office buildings at the “Docklands” end of the CBD – being offloaded by the Nurses Board of Victoria.

The buildings, at 595 and 597 Little Collins Street, are expected to reap a total of about $12.5 million at auction next month.

The Board paid $4.1 million in March 2000 for 595, and $4.9 million in June 2008, for 597.

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Watpac to Build $62 Million RMIT Building on Former Carlton & United Brewery Site, Melbourne

RMIT Cub BuildingWatpac Limited’s (ASX: WTP) Construction division has been awarded the construction of the RMIT University Design Hub, with a contract sum of $62 million.

The high-profile project will be located at the strategic north-west corner of Swanston and Victoria Streets, on the site of the former Carlton United brewery.

Watpac Construction National General Manager, Martin Monro, said the award of this landmark project represented a key milestone in the company’s strategy of growth in the Victorian market.

“Watpac has worked diligently to expand our Construction division in Victoria, and the award of this significant project—our largest to date in this market—is an endorsement of our team and their dedication to building on our reputation for excellence and quality,” Mr Monro said.

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