PUBLICATION: The Australian

Melbourne-based Growland has settled the purchase of a development site in the city’s west, paying $73 million for a parcel of land for a 900-lot residential estate.

The Doherty’s Road property will be the base for a $420m project.

The company said it expected to launch three apartment projects and two house-and-land communities totalling 1500 homes later this year.

Growland chief executive Ronald Chan said strong population growth and a lack of supply would drive the affordable housing market in Melbourne, particularly in the city’s western corridor.

The company is also developing apartments in inner Melbourne. “We have strategically decided to place as much emphasis on our house-and-land offering as on our inner-city product, as the market drivers across both are so strong,” Mr Chan said.

The population in the western suburb of Tarneit was expected to increase by nearly 55,000 in the next 14 years, with the state committing $533m in infrastructure improvements to the area, Growland noted.

Growland locks in $73m deal for west Melbourne site

PUBLICATION: The Australian

Melbourne-based Growland has settled the purchase of a development site in the city’s west, paying $73 million for a parcel of land for a 900-lot residential estate.

The Doherty’s Road property will be the base for a $420m project.

The company said it expected to launch three apartment projects and two house-and-land communities totalling 1500 homes later this year.

Growland chief executive Ronald Chan said strong population growth and a lack of supply would drive the affordable housing market in Melbourne, particularly in the city’s western corridor.

The company is also developing apartments in inner Melbourne. “We have strategically decided to place as much emphasis on our house-and-land offering as on our inner-city product, as the market drivers across both are so strong,” Mr Chan said.

The population in the western suburb of Tarneit was expected to increase by nearly 55,000 in the next 14 years, with the state committing $533m in infrastructure improvements to the area, Growland noted.

Developers switch to larger units to meet buyers changing demand

PUBLICATION: The Australian

Developers are redesigning apartment projects to include fewer one-bedrooms and more large apartments suitable for owner occupiers to meet buyer demand in a changing market.

The trend comes amid a regulatory clampdown on bank lending to property investors, as well as elevated house prices that are enabling empty nesters to sell, downsize into a luxury apartment and pocket the difference.

In one recent example, architects Fender Katsalidis were appointed to design the second phase of Asia-backed developer Growland’s $600 million Victoria Square project in Melbourne’s Footscray, where the floorplan was reconfigured for more two- and three-bedroom apartments and fewer one-bedrooms.

The decision followed feedback from the first stage of the project where local demand exceeded expectations.

Fender Katsalidis director James Pearce says one-bedroom apartments have become less preferable but two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments can be used by a wider variety of residents, such as owner-occupier couples with a young child or even two couples renting together. “We’re seeing that trend over all of our projects,” Mr Pearce said. “People are seeing the value for money in the apartments that are more functional and more appropriate to

live in, which is this idea of flexibility that the two-bedroom, two-bathroom provides.”

Mr Pearce earlier worked on Riverlee’s Jaques project in Richmond, where the third stage was redesigned to offer large two- and three-bedroom apartments instead of smaller stock. Other redesigns have taken place at Pellicano’s suburban Alke development and multiple Moda projects in the southeastern suburbs, where the number of units was reduced to include more large homes.

Marshall White Projects director Leonard Teplin has seen a “significant increase” in demand for larger apartments over the last two years.

“We have worked with many developers recently to adjust their product mix to be more in line with current market conditions,” Mr Teplin said.

CBRE managing director of residential projects Andrew Leoncelli sees projects redesigned often, to cater to owner occupiers but also to improve the financial returns.

First-home estate for Tarneit


A Melbourne-based developer is set to build a 900-home estate in Tarneit aimed at first-home buyers.

Growland is planning the ‘Marigold’ estate on a 65-hectare site near the intersection of Derrimut and Dohertys roads.

The project has been described as “premium affordable housing targeted towards first-home buyers”, to be built alongside recreational parks, water features and wetlands.

The estate, which will be officially launched in November, will be rolled out across 20 stages.

Growland chief executive Ronald Chan said the company hoped the Marigold area would appeal to first-home buyers who wanted to avoid paying stamp duty (first-home buyers in Victoria are not required to pay stamp duty if they purchase a property for $600,000 or less).

“Our aim is for our purchasers to end up paying $600,000 and under for their house and land package,” Mr Chan said.

“The majority of owner-occupiers in Tarneit have a budget around $550,000 and this is what we work towards.

“We consulted our builder partners on design outcomes that meet both our neighbourhood aesthetics and have a reasonable cost to meet the budget of the first-home buyers.

“We understand owner-occupiers’ desire to be living in a community where every other house in the street has a level of standard, and our design guideline has been designed to achieve this.”

Mr Chan said that Tarneit “represents a fantastic opportunity for buyers”.


Growland plans $258m residential community in Melbourne’s west

PUBLICATION: The Australian

Melbourne-based Growland has bought a development site in Melbourne’s west for a $258 million residential project as the city’s housing market continues to fire.

The 26.18ha parcel in Fraser Rise, previously Plumpton, will see a 430-lot house and land development and is Growland’s second recent site purchase in Melbourne’s buoyant west. It purchased a site in Tarneit with plans for a 900-lot community to be launched this year.

The Tarneit project will offer premium affordable housing targeted towards first-home buyers, while the Plumpton community will feature larger lot sizes for second or third-home buyers, the company said.

Growland founder Bruce Chan said Melbourne’s land supply was critical to meeting national housing needs.

“According to the latest census data, there are over 100,000 people migrating to Victoria every year, indicating that the population will rise to almost 7.5 million by 2036,” Mr Chan said. “We will need a further estimated 50,000 homes each year to provide appropriate housing for this new group.”

Fraser Rise is one of the 11 new suburbs in the Melton growth area announced by the state government last year to accommodate population growth in the region.

The new suburb was previously part of the southern area of Plumpton, which houses 9230 people and is predicted to reach 240,000 people by 2031.

CoreLogic data shows house prices in the area have gone up by 10.94 per cent in the past 12 months. Growland has also developed the Victoria Square apartment project at Footscray with the first tower 90 per cent sold in five months.

Towers get go-ahead

PUBLICATION: Maribyrnong Leader

Council approves amendments to $600 million development.

A SIX-TOWER residential, office and retail mega-complex with more than 900 dwellings has been given the green light to be built within Footscray’s Josephs Rd precinct.

The $600 million Victoria Square development, on Hopkins St, was first approved by Maribyrnong councilors in May 2017, but was brought back to the council last month to approve amendments to the plan.

The amendments saw dwellings increased to 931, commercial floor space almost doubled from 3297sq m to 6012sq m, and car spaces increased from 755 to 1075.

Tower heights were also increased, with the tallest to stand at 25 storeys.

Footscray Traders Association president Stuart Lucca-Pope said the development made sense but he did have some concerns.

“More people in the area means more trade for local businesses, but we have to make sure arking and public transport keeps up with demand,” he said. “The complex will also have a significant retail sector which we hope can be filled by local businesses run by local families rather than chain stores.”

Maribyrnong Mayor Cuc Lam said the council was pleased with the outcome.

“It is in line with the vision for the Footscray Metropolitan Activity Centre,” she said.

The development was designed by Kavellaris Urban Design on behalf of developer Growland.

Growland chief executive Ronald Chan said the decision to expand the original plans stemmed from wanting to meet the needs of the market.

“Growland is aiming to create a strong new community at Victoria Square and add to the vibrancy of Footscray as it continues its transformation,” Mr Chan said.

“Our goal in creating this project has always been to deliver high quality, affordable housing to Footscray and to do so with the community front of mind.”

Construction on the first tower is planned to start in mid-2018 and be completed by 2020.

Get to know Bruce Chan, founder of Growland

PUBLICATION: The Real Estate Conversation

Bruce Chan is the chairman and founder of Melbourne development company, Growland. He told SCHWARTZWILLIAMS that one of the reasons for his success is his ability to face obstacles with enthusiasm, and to constantly learn and improve along the way. He loves the process of creating something from nothing.

As both a developer and resident of Melbourne, he would like to see more innovative architecture in his home city.

How did you first get into property development?

I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart and have been fascinated by property from an early age. I started purchasing and selling land projects in Brisbane back in the 90s, and I was constantly wanting to learn more about the industry and grow my knowledge and experience.

One day an opportunity presented itself to develop a multicomplex site in Melbourne, which I enjoyed so much I was inspired to start Growland.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the process of building things. Creating something from nothing that will last and leave behind a legacy is an incredibly rewarding experience.

What makes a good developer?

A good developer is one that is always willing to take on new challenges and think laterally. No matter how many projects you develop, each one presents its own unique set of obstacles; to be successful you need to meet these obstacles with enthusiasm and strive to push the boundaries of what you think is possible. When you do that, each project will be an improvement on the last and you will be proud of what you have created.

Creating places for people: how to build the ideal community

PUBLICATION: The Real Estate Conversation

Urban planning and residential design are at the core of every community, dictating how we as a society work, live and play. The quality of our communities has a significant impact on our daily lives, including our physical and mental health.

As developers, we are the wardens of the communities we create; a responsibility that drives our vision and everyday decision-making. There are a variety of factors considered when developing housing estates, including environmental impact, long-term sustainability, stakeholder management, connectivity, and safety.

Because of this, there are often a number of ideas and initiatives that don’t make it past the initial planning phase. With typical red tape hurdles cast aside and a bit of blue-sky thinking, we consider, what would the ideal residential community of the future possibly look like?

Maximise public spaces

When creating housing estates, parks are at best, interactive, multi-faceted active and passive areas for day-time activities, and at worst, small grassed areas that are dictated by the landscape and rarely given extensive consideration. Across the board though, parks are considered a day-time amenity, not safe or fit for use at night.

This doesn’t have to be the case. With the right lighting, parks can be a fun and interactive place at night where the community could come together for meals, music or group exercise. In an ideal community, structures in the park could be established with solar panels that generate power, enabling a safe and fun environment at night and ultimately maximising this valuable resource.

Creating parks that are also dog-friendly, with specific off-leash times, fosters responsibility and encourages socialisation between neighbours, giving just as many benefits to the community as it does to our beloved pets.

Integrating cul-de-sacs, or no-through roads, into a planned community can encourage residents to use public space for community activities such as neighbourhood BBQs or friendly sporting games. Less frequent traffic on road means children are able to play more safely outside their homes.

Create community projects

There are few things that foster a sense of community more than a shared project or asset. The perfect example of this is a community garden or a communal orchard, allowing residents to work together to maintain the gardens and share in the benefits of fresh produce, which could be distributed evenly amongst households.

Extensive research shows community gardens provide numerous health benefits including improved access to food, improved nutrition, increased physical activity and better mental health. Community gardens are also conducive to promoting social health and community cohesion.

Reuse and recycle

When hundreds of homes are being created, there’s inevitably a large amount of product waste with discarded timber, bricks, concrete, sand, etc. Developers and builders are often forced to spend time and resources disposing of these materials at the tip. It begs the question, is there a better way to reuse those materials?

A more sustainable solution would be to repurpose those materials, either by donating them to a not-for-profit homebuilder such as Habitat for Humanity, which helps people obtain safe and decent housing, along with the strength, stability and independence to build better lives, or reusing them for the benefit of the residents to create a communal tool shed or children’s cubby house.

Embrace technology

As technology continues to become such an integrated part of our lives, we need to start factoring it in to the communities we create. While this is already in its infancy with the introduction of smart homes, ideally, we could take it one step further and explore how technology can be used to bring residents together.

A great example would be free WIFI available in public spaces. This would encourage residents to leave their homes and allow them to work or study in open spaces; activating the public realm. It’s also a great tool for kids, allowing them to always be connected to home and get in touch with their parents when they’re out and about in the estate.

A community app for smart phones could also be of great value, where residents can get real-time updates of community get-togethers or notifications of local events like a group dog walk around the park on the weekend. This digital extension of the community brings people together and cultivates a sense of connection.

While it’s not always feasible to create the ideal community, as developers and urban planners it is always necessary to approach residential and community design with the intention to create something that will go above and beyond simply providing people with a home. Fostering a sense of belonging, encouraging positive social interactions between neighbours and maximising liveability are the cornerstones of a successful development.

The Best Investment You Can Make for Your Lifestyle


Now more than ever, we as a society are prioritising ourselves, our time and our lifestyle over anything else. This is evident in the rise of convenience-based services and products, such as Uber Eats, Youfoodz, Uber and Airtasker, and our increased focus on health and wellness.

This trend extends to property, where modern buyers are forgoing large backyards in the suburbs for amenity-rich, inner-city apartments that offer hotel-style living in the heart of all the action.

No longer content to spend our free time on a long commute to and from work, we’re swapping frenzied morning traffic for a leisurely bike ride. Rather than spending Sunday nights at home cooking a roast, we’re going out for dinner and drinks with nearby friends.

These factors have driven us to invest more in a lifestyle that affords us the free time to do the things we want. This has seen an increasing demand for inner-city apartments, where we can access everything we need in a matter of minutes. Victoria Square in Footscray, just 3.9km from Melbourne’s CBD, has been incredibly popular among a variety of home buyers.

Well-placed along the Maribyrnong River bike paths, and just 600 metres from the railway station, residents will be a short ride away from Melbourne’s CBD. A short walk will also lead to an abundance of local restaurants, cafes and bars, without the worry of who’s going to drive home on a Friday night.

For those that want to stay even closer to home, the complex will feature a bustling pedestrian laneway full of premium restaurants and bars that will make the choice of whether to stay in or head out a hard one.

If in need of a way to unwind, the abundance of luxury amenities at Victoria Square are sure to leave residents feeling refreshed, relaxed and re-energised. Complete with a 25-metre lap pool, spa, state-of-the-art gym and aerial running track, a day at home can feel more like a day at a luxury resort.

While this lifestyle that inner-city living affords was once considered a trade-off for a small living space, the rise of apartment living and increased investment in architecture by developers means this is no longer the case.

Each apartment at Victoria Square features spacious open plan living spaces, private balconies and substantial storage space, ensuring the premium lifestyle doesn’t stop once purchasers get home.

Designed by renowned architects, Kavellaris Urban Design, the apartments have been created to the upmost detail, with high quality fixtures and finishes that are designed to be enjoyed for a lifetime.

The choice to invest in this lifestyle through apartment living is any easy one to make, especially when the return is so high.

Due to overwhelming demand for apartments at Victoria Square, the second tower of the development, VS02, has recently launched ahead of schedule.

For more information or to book a display suite tour, register online or call us on 0455 998 899.

Growland aims for local buyers as Victoria Square’s second Stage is launched

PUBLICATION: Urban Melbourne

On the back of selling 90% of apartments within the first Victoria Square tower, developer Growland has launched the second stage of the development located in Footscray’s Joseph Road Precinct.

Growland will now pursue the local owner-occupier market even more vigorously in order to account for the bulk of the second tower’s sales, having noted a decline in foreign buyer interest of late. The newly released tower has been dubbed VS02 and will include 168 apartments, spanning levels 4 to 21.

This refocusing on the local buyer has seen a diverse number of floorplates and design options made available across VS02; the strategy allows the tower to be an attractive option for as many potential buyers as possible. Growland has also begun single bedroom apartment internals within VS02 from 61sqm, a considerably large size in relation to many other Melbourne apartment projects.


Interest from foreign buyers is slowing due to regulatory changes, so the market has adapted to meet the preferences of the local owner-occupier market, which is quickly gaining in strength. There are many aspects of a project that need special attention to cater to this demographic. Quality, diversity, and flexibility are crucial.

The scale of Victoria Square and VS02 means we can offer a significantly diverse range of residences. While Victoria Square is fantastic for young professionals, couples, and first-home buyers, there is a large range of larger apartments that are also perfect for young families.

This gives it a unique position in the market place: it will be a truly integrated community in Footscray.

Ronald Chan, CEO, Growland