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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Federal Government’s Beleagured NRAS Suffers Another Setback

THE federal government’s ailing National Rental Affordability Scheme has suffered a convenient setback.

The $623 million initiative – introduced by Kevin Rudd in 2008, and then part-cut by Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan in recent budgets – has lost another private sector backer which was to have provided 255 affordable housing units in Coburg.

Developer Hamton, with joint venture partner Macquarie Real Estate Investment Equity Fund, has quietly rescheduled the start date of its contentious Coburg High School redevelopment – Circa (artist impression, above).

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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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Hamton Dodges High Rise Development Dispute

AND so all eyes turn to 50 Albert Road, in South Melbourne, after the decision this week by new planning minister Matthew Guy to reject a 29-level, 88-metre proposal across the road at #35, based on height.

Hamton Property Group is planning to build a 28-level, 89-metre tower on its site at 42 – 50 Albert Road, having marketed the project, Fifty Albert, since the middle of last year.

Both the Asia-based owner of 35 Albert Road, and Hamton, paid about $15.5 million for their respective South Melbourne sites last April.

Hamton’s site was purchased with a permit for a 220-dwelling apartment complex. However it shrunk the size of the units so that 294 flats could fit within the approved building’s shell.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal approved that major amendment last August.

By comparison the owner of 35 Albert Road proposed 420 apartments within an 88 metre tower. Another tower of similar height is proposed at 60 Albert Road, too.

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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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Skyscrapers to Sprout From Two Sites Around Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance

Shrine of RemembranceTWO major development sites around the Shrine of Remembrance have sold, in deals expected to see low rise office buildings replaced with skyscraper apartment towers, with a potential end value of around $250 million.

In the biggest deal, an Asia-based developer is believed to have paid about $15.5 million for a 2274 square metre site at 35 Albert Road.

A 3096 square metre office building at the address is expected to be replaced with an apartment tower, which some speculate could soar higher than 30 levels and have an end value of about $130 million.

Meanwhile across the road, boutique developer Hamton has made one of its biggest forays into the high-density residential sector.

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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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RMIT’s Outgoing Building 87 to be Sold With Permit For 50-Level Apartment Tower

A CBD building, offloaded by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology five years ago, has been listed for sale this week as a major residential development site.
 
The 410 Elizabeth Street office, known to RMIT staff and students as Building 87, will be sold with a development permit for a 50-level apartment building, capable of accommodating hundreds of units.
 
The property is owned by developer Michael Buxton, who paid RMIT $8.25 million for the office in 2004, before working on obtaining a residential development permit.

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