Vicinity proposes $2b Box Hill redevelopment – including suburb’s tallest tower

Vicinity’s proposal will include 3350 square metres of public space, a 48-level apartment building and 25-storey office.

Vicinity Centres has unveiled plans and lodged the first permit applications for a $2 billion mixed-use redevelopment of its prominent Box Hill Central sites, in Melbourne’s east.

Affecting 5.5 hectares, the project will be identified by a 48-level tower, the suburb’s tallest, set to contain 366 flats, 7000 square metres of office area and ground floor retail which will open onto a revitalised Main Street.

Another building, a 25 storey, 42,000 sqm office, is mooted for part of the parcel beside Box Hill train station.

A 3350 sqm public space with a town square and Spanish Steps seating inspired amphitheatre is anticipated, too.

Vicinity is expecting to spend about $21 million on the public spaces, $377m on the commercial components, including a hotel, and $285m on the residences. The end value of the real estate is c$2 billion.

All up, some 250,000 sqm of structures, including a hotel and construction around the area’s transport network, is expected.

Vicinity also intends to make some infrastructure changes, specifically extending Main and Prospect streets to link with Clisby Court and Whitehorse Road – the latter, the suburb’s main commercial thoroughfare.

The Melbourne based investor said its asset repositioning aims to consolidate a majority of Box Hill Central’s retail between Main Street and Carrington Road, “capitalising on the iconic fresh food market and dining experiences, and leveraging the centre’s location at one of the city’s busiest rail and transport hubs”.

About 6000 workers and 3800 residents are expected to utilise the block within 10 years.

The suburb is earmarked for a depot as part of the proposed $50b Suburban Rail Loop initiative, set to connect Sunshine to Cheltenham via Melbourne Airport.

It currently accommodates about 23,600 residents, 18,000 workers, 15,000 students and 850 hospital beds (within Box Hill Hospital and Epworth Eastern).

Vicinity’s neighbouring Box Hill holdings

Vicinity holds two parcels in central Box Hill.

The one described as South Site spreads 3.6ha between Main, Station and Thurston streets and Carrington Road.

With 23,800 sqm of retail floor space above Box Hill train station and below the suburb’s bus interchange, it is set to be modernised and the retail offering, remixed.

It is joined to the 1.8ha North Site including a car park fronting Whitehorse Road.

Vicinity is treating that holding as seven development sites with the capacity to deliver up to 80,000 sqm of commercial area and housing for 1900 residents.

It is on this part of its block, too, where the premium quality hotel is mooted.

The investor is budgeting to spend $21 million on the public spaces, $377m on the commercial components and $285m for the residential parts. The end value of the real estate is expected to be $2b (story continues below).

Box Hill replacing Dandenong as “Melbourne’s second city”

For decades, until about 10 years ago, planners and agents spruiked Dandenong as “Melbourne’s second city”.

Forty one kilometres south east of Bourke Street Mall, that industrial hub has seen a wave of high density development but it has clearly been trumped recently by Box Hill – also classified as a major activity centre for years by both major state governments.

About 14kms from the city its skyline now includes a 36-level tower with more of about this height planned.

Since 2010, Vicinity said, more than 2790 apartments, five hotels and high rise offices have been completed around Box Hill Central.

The suburb’s population has grown from about 16,480 in 2006.

Also finding favour as a metropolitan tourist attraction, particularly for its fresh food and restaurants, Box Hill has some 26m visitors a year.

Box Hill’s next building boom

Vicinity’s proposal comes a week after MAB Corporation launched the marketing campaign for a 25-floor apartment building, Tempo, and 10-level social housing complex, in Bruce Street and Elland Avenue, about 100 metres from Box Hill Central.

APH is intending to build an office – which it is speculated could rise about 20 storeys – out of a Chemist Warehouse outlet it bought also in this pocket on a 1.6 per cent yield last August.

Some sites set for high density apartment projects are at 711 Station Street, 25-29 Ellingworth Parade, 16-18 Spring Street and 845-851 Whitehorse Road.

The Box Hill Central redevelopment will take shape in stages over 10 years.

Four are planned in Prospect Street, at 9-11, 15-17, 22-24 and 31-35, while another could sprout from 19-23, which sold for c$22m last year.

…needs to reflect the highly-educated workforce’s aspirations: Vicinity

Vicinity said Box Hill’s highly educated workforce deserves a centre which reflects its aspirations.

Vicinity chief development officer Carolyn Viney said the suburb has a young, highly educated, hardworking and affluent local community, and “the centre of Box Hill needs to reflect their aspirations”.

“The development application for the public space and commercial building have now been lodged,” the executive said. “A further development application for a residential building is expected to be lodged next year”

The proposed regeneration plans will be delivered in stages aligned to market demand.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco