High rise too hot: Growland snaps up Melb house-and-land site

PUBLICATION: Australian Financial Review
DATE:

Melbourne developer Growland has joined the rush of Asian-backed developers moving out of the cooling inner-city apartment market and into the strongly performing outer suburban land market after paying more than $70 million for a site in the city’s west.

Growland, founded in 2013 by architect Stephen Yau and entrepreneur Bruce Chan and with a $1.3 billion pipeline of projects, paid a steep $1.5 million a hectare for the 62-hectare site at 1030 Dohertys Road, Tarneit – about 28 kilometres west of the Melbourne CBD.

The rural property, which sits within the new suburb of Tarneit North, has the capacity for between 900 and 1000 lots with end value of around $240 million.

Title deeds show the current owner as Mounira El Houli with a company called A1 Wirrebee Birds & Stock Feeds operating from the same address.

Land prices have shot up in Melbourne’s west, delivering massive windfalls to rural landowners who by luck or design have found themselves owning property zoned for residential use.

Last year, Chinese high-rise developer New Sky moved into the house and land market, paying $60 million for a 64-hectare housing project in Tarneit with approval for 800 lots, Chinese real estate giant Dahua paid $350 million for a huge land bank in Melbourne’s west and China’s Fucheng Group acquired the last remaining parcel of the Baillieu family’s vast Woodhouse Station for about $100 million.

Property developers take early hit on stamp duty ahead of Victorian government cuts

PUBLICATION: Domain Online, North Queensland Register, Stock & Land, All Homes
DATE:

Developers and builders are copping hits into the tens of thousands of dollars by covering stamp duty for their first-home buyer customers, in order to avoid a lull in the market ahead of the official tax cut later this year.

First home buyers can now save stamp duty – up to $15,000 – on a string of Victorian apartment projects and house and land packages, getting a head start on the state government’s cuts which will come into affect across the board on July 1.

It follows an announcement a fortnight ago by the Andrews government that it would waive stamp duty for all first-home buyers on properties worth up to $600,000 in the new financial year. The move will cease the current stamp duty saving offered to all off the plan purchasers, including investors.

It is understood many investor-driven developers are moving project release dates forward, in order to to capture investor dollars before the tax cut is removed.

The announcements have been met with mixed feelings by the development industry, given incentives will now fall far more heavily in favour of owner-occupier projects than investor-driven developments.

For those developers and builders who have a large portion of their projects tied to the first-home buyer segment, the July 1 commencement date presented a potential hiatus for the market. Some newly released developments saw an immediate drop in inquiries from first timers.

Porter Davis, which will pay the stamp duty for Victorian first home buyers who use the builder for land contracts, brought forward marketing plans to target first-home buyers by several months so it could ride the wave of interest generated by the announcements.

A new era for Footscray as apartment towers go up and younger people buy in

PUBLICATION: Domain Online
DATE:

A long-awaited football win for the Western Bulldogs is not the only sign of change in the once proud blue-collar neighbourhood. The suburb itself is transforming — and quickly.

Footscray is undergoing an apartment boom, with more than 1350 units approved by local council in 2015. It is a figure ten times the amount approved in 2013, building data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows. And, as the towers go up, an affluent crowd is moving in.

A suburb built by its multicultural residents, Footscray has for decades opened its arms to newly arrived migrant communities, including Italian, Yugoslavian,Vietnamese and East African. Amid concern about the future for those very communities, it is welcoming change from the next generation; those buying into the suburb’s mushrooming medium and high density apartment stock.

Nicole Mayo is among a wave of young professionals writing the suburb’s next chapter. The 33-year-old food sales representative, who rents in St Kilda, recently bought her first apartment in Footscray.

“Footscray is where St Kilda was years ago,” Ms Mayo said. “I hope [Barkly Street] looks like Acland Street in ten years. I hope there’s more alfresco cafes and bars where you can go and have a drink.”

She is confident her two bedroom apartment, found in boutique development The Hugo, will be a better investment over time than its high rise equivalents being built in Footscray’s CBD, along the Maribyrnong River and even around the Whitten Oval.

The sheer number of new apartments being approved is significant compared to the rest of Melbourne, RMIT University senior planning lecturer Joe Hurley said, but planning policy in the City of Maribyrnong had long been in place to encourage such intensification.

“Footscray is the right place for this kind of development,” Dr Hurley said, pointing to existing infrastructure, including public transport. “You have a council that has written in policy an expectation that there is capacity to grow and its hasn’t been met until recently.”

Dean Johnson, director of Sweeneys Yarraville, has worked in the inner west real estate market for 30 years. He said the demographic of Footscray had changed with each wave of migration and was already transitioning into its next phase.

Many of the residents who had lived there for years were now selling up to move further west, into areas like St Albans and Caroline Springs, he said.

“People are selling their smaller homes in Footscray, cashing in and buying a larger house further out,” he said.

But such a displacement, or the gentrifyication of Footscray, has experts concerned.

“I wouldn’t advocate gentrification, I would caution it,” Dr Hurley said. “One of the important policy questions with places like Footscray is, what kind of development and housing options are available for a wide cross section of people?”

Denis Nelthorpe, chief executive of WEstjustice, said he was concerned about the effects of gentrification on newly arrived communities, who had traditionally been drawn to Footscray by family or cultural links.

“They are now being pushed into the outer regions of Wyndham, Melton and far reaches of Brimbank, where services are a lot harder to access,” Mr Nelthorpe said.

“Even areas around Braybrook and Sunshine are also beginning to gentrify as well, it probably won’t be too long before the whole of Maribyrnong has gentrified.”

City of Maribyrnong mayor Cameron McDonald was confident demand from young professionals and families would meet supply.

“It’s not like City Road [in Southbank] or the IKEA precinct in Richmond … there is a lot of existing infrastructure that I think that mitigates a lot of the risk,” Cr McDonald said.

He said the new population of young people coming in with discretionary cash would only benefit the suburb and help it shed its stigma.

“These people actually drive change, they are demanding, they have good disposable income,” he said.

“The stereotypical Footscray will fade away, once these towers are finished and once the people are moving in, I think we’ll see lots of dramatic change.”

Growland Plans 600M Mixed-use Project in Footscray

PUBLICATION: Property Review Australia
DATE:

Development group Growland have launched a $600 million mixed-use masterplanned urban village at Footscray.

Growland plans to develop its 13,500 sqm site at 8 Hopkins St into six buildings comprising 1000 apartments, a potential hotel and 4,000 sqm of retail space. It is expected to accommodate more than 3000 residents and 30 new retailers.

The precinct, designed by award-winning Melbourne architectural firm Kavellaris Urban Design (KUD) will be named Joseph Place.

KUD director Killy Kavellaris said the vision for the site was to create a vibrant urban zone that encouraged interaction in its public and private spaces. “The aim is to do something different and bring to Footscray a new style of living that celebrates connection and resonates with Footscray’s existing multicultural heritage and established food scene,” he said.

Growland was founded by property entrepreneur Bruce Chan and Melbourne architect Stephen Yau. Yau said Footscray was the same distance from the city as Richmond and was currently undergoing the same transformation Richmond underwent some years ago. “The inner west has been recognised as one of Melbourne’s most undervalued opportunities and is due for rapid growth over the next two to five years. The future growth potential of Footscray is huge and Joseph Place signals a renaissance in the area,” Yau said.

Pending approval, construction on Joseph Place hopes to commence in early 2017, with the first apartment building due to launch for sale over the coming months.

Growland plans $600m Joseph Place urban village for Footscray

PUBLICATION: Herald Sun Online, Maribyrnong Leader
DATE:

A HUGE $600 million urban development is being planned for a key site in Footscray close to the banks of the Maribyrnong River.

Property developer Growland wants to turn the 13,500 sqm site at 8 Hopkins St, Footscray into an urban village called Joseph Place, comprising of roughly 1000 apartments, a retail laneway with 30 outlets linking Footscray to the river, and an Olympic-sized running track.

It’s hoped the site will become a “hub for foodies” with a number of restaurants planned for the laneway.

Growland has also flagged the possibility of including a theatre and rock-climbing wall in the design.

Growland chief executive Mr Yau said Footscray was the same distance from the city as Richmond and was currently undergoing the same transformation Richmond underwent some years ago. “Footscray is currently in the midst of a demographic shift — attracting a new wave of students, young professionals and working families who are looking to reside in a well-connected community with easy access to transport services and state-of-the-art retail, dining and leisure facilities on their doorstep,” Mr Yau said.

“The inner west has been recognised as one of Melbourne’s most undervalued opportunities and is due for rapid growth over the next two to five years,” he said.

Architect firm Kavellaris Urban Design director Billy Kavellaris said the site would enhance all of the good qualities of Footscray. “The aim is to do something different and bring to Footscray a new style of living that celebrate connection and resonates with Footscray’s existing multicultural heritage and established food scene,” Mr Kavellaris said.

“We want this area to become a social, economic and residential hub on the city fringe that makes people’s lives better — and that’s achievable through a combination of great housing, world-class amenity and vibrant retail.”

Growland is hopeful of beginning construction on Joseph Place in early 2017, subject to project approval.

Footscray village to include elevated Olympic running track

PUBLICATION: Australian Design Review
DATE:

A new mixed-use urban village, which will include Melbourne’s first elevated Olympic running track, has been revealed as part of a planned $600 million development in Footscray.

Designed by Melbourne architectural firm Kavellaris Urban Design (KUD), the precinct will be named Joseph Place and proposes six residential buildings housing up to 1000 apartments. The development will also include a potential hotel, 4000sqm of retail space, expansive public open space, and a new retail laneway linking Footscray to the Maribyrnong River.

KUD director Billy Kavellaris said the vision for the site was to create a vibrant urban zone that encouraged interaction in its public and private spaces. “Joseph Place will elevate what’s on offer in Footscray, bringing its amenity in line with its inner city neighbours. The elevated Olympic-sized running track takes the idea of an apartment gym to the next level, encouraging health and wellbeing outdoors, but not out in the Melbourne traffic,” he said.

Kavellaris said the level of resident amenity, which may also include a rock climbing wall and theatre, was possible due to the site’s generous footprint and aimed to add value to residents’ lifestyles. “People want to interact with each other – it’s partly why cities are growing so rapidly and it informed how we approached the design of this site,” Mr Kavellaris said.

Developer Growland plans to transform the 13,500 square metre Footscray site into a new neighbourhood as part of the ongoing evolution of the inner city suburb. Growland CEO, Mr Yau, said Footscray is currently undergoing the same transformation Richmond underwent some years ago. “Footscray is currently in the midst of a demographic shift – attracting a new wave of students, young professionals and working families who are looking to reside in a well-connected community with easy access to transport services and state-of-the-art retail, dining and leisure facilities on their doorstep,” Mr Yau said.

“The inner west has been recognised as one of Melbourne’s most undervalued opportunities and is due for rapid growth over the next two to five years.”

Pending approval, construction on Joseph Place is planned to commence in early 2017, with the first apartment building due to launch for sale over the coming months.

Going Up in Growing West

PUBLICATION: The Age, Domain Online
DATE:

Footscray is set for a fresh boom in apartment construction, with two of the suburb’s largest residential projects to further transform the skyline of the gentrifying suburb.

A mixed-use development of about 940 apartments in planned for an old car dealership at 8 Hopkins Street. The development, Joseph Place, is subject to state government approval because of its scale. Construction is scheduled to start early next year. Local developer Growland acquired the 13,500-square-metre site from state development agency Places Victoria for about $18 million in late 2013. The developer’s first foray into Melbourne includes six towers ranging from nine to 25 levels, overlooking the Maribyrnong River.

Nearby, a residential project on the Kinnears Ropeworks site is poised to add a further 1400 new dwellings. The finer elements of the final proposal for the 3.3-hectare Ballarat Road site are being negotiated between the developer and the council under mediation at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. There were 1371 units approved in Footscray last year, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows – a tenfold increase on the number of building approvals in 2013.

The two projects combined would translate into approval for more than 2300 apartments.

Growland’s proposal for the Hopkins Street site would see the residential towers connected by five-level podium, ground-floor shops and include a pool, bowling alley and 400-metre running track. One and two-bedroom apartments make up 95 per cent of the mix.

Growland chief Stephen Yau said “underdeveloped” Footscray offered an opportunity for a large-scale development not available in the east. He likened Footscray’s demographic shift to the transformation seen most recently in Richmond. Mr Yau hoped to differentiate his project from others in the Joseph Road precinct – including a 968-apartment development under construction at 22 Hopkins Street – through architectural design, amenities and retail.

Maribyrnong City Council director of planning services Nigel Higgins said the local population was expected to increase to 156,000 by 2041 – more than double that of five years ago. Mr Higgins expected the housing capacity of their redevelopment sites to meet the demand, but said the growth would come with challenges. They included job availability, people to fill skilled jobs and reliable, accessible transport.

RMIT University senior lecturer of global, urban and social studies Joe Hurley said Footscray was the right place for new supply. “The other alternative is that those 1000 dwellings get put out n the edge of Werribee, and (people) have to drive to the train station or along the freeway to get to work, and that’s not an ideal situation,” he said. “(Footscray) has very good public transport infrastructure to link it to the CBD, but also to the western region. It’s got high-order services already there, it’s got a thriving retail and growing commercial sector with lots of employment opportunities.”

Growland Group Readies Joseph Place as Footscray’s Next Super Project

PUBLICATION: Urban Melbourne
DATE:

Footscray is set to accommodate another massive apartment project within the Joseph Place Precinct Urban Renewal Area as developer Growland Group prepares to launch Joseph Place.

Set over a 13,500 square metre former Toyota dealership, the site is currently in the final stages of remediation with the beginnings of a display suite taking shape. Its purpose will be to woo prospective buyers for Joseph Place’s apartments which number near on 1,000.

The $600 million mixed-used master planned urban village which is expected to house up to 3,000 residents eventually will consist of six buildings, in addition to amenities such as Melbourne’s first elevated Olympic-sized running track, podium-top gardens and amenities and a retail laneway linking Footscray to the Maribyrnong River.

4-8 Hopkins Street has been in the planning system since 2013 with Place Victoria initiating a master planned outcome for the site which along with neighbouring sites forms the backbone of Joseph Road Precinct. Kavellaris Urban Design has been working on Joseph Place as project lead for an extended period of time with State Government approval for the development in the offing.

In addition to the roughly 1,000 apartments, a hotel has also been mooted for Joseph Place. Ground level will see 30 retailers split over 4,000 square metres of retail space and public open spaces, with an emphasis on food-driven outlets, continuing the trend of popular eateries in and around the area.

Growland Spearheads $600m Melbourne Development

PUBLICATION: The Urban Developer
DATE:

Melbourne’s inner west is set to undergo further renewal with plans in place by local developer Growland for a largely residential project overlooking the Maribyrnong River.

The 1000-unit apartment complex at 8 Hopkins Street Footscray, named Joseph Place, will be the closest western development site to the CBD and is expected to attract further development to the area following the government’s move to shift state agencies to the suburb in a bid to boost its economic base.

Growland is planning a series of six buildings with potential for a hotel, 4000 square metres of retail and public spaces. The precinct will house Melbourne’s first Olympic-sized elevated running track, plus a theatre and rock climbing wall.

Growland CEO, architect Stephen Yau said Footscray is currently undergoing the same transformation Richmond underwent years ago. “Footscray is in the midst of a demographic shift – attracting a new wave of students, young professionals and working families who are looking to reside in a well-connected community with easy access to transport services, state of the art retail, dining and leisure facilities on their doorstep,” Mr. Yau said. “The inner west has been recognised as one of Melbourne’s most undervalued opportunities and is due for rapid growth over the next to five years. “The future growth potential of Footscray is huge and construction on Joseph Place signals a renaissance in the area,” he said.

Designed by Kavellaris Urban Design (KUD), director Billy Kavellaris said the precinct is aimed to be a vibrant urban zone. “Joseph Place will elevate what’s on offer in Footscray, bringing amenity into line with its inner-city neighbours. “The aim is to do something different and bring Footscray to a new style of living,” he said.

Pending approval, construction on Joseph Place will begin early 2017. Growland acquired the 13,500 square metre site in Footscray for $17.5 million.

Growland goes west with $600m Project in Melbourne’s Footscray

PUBLICATION: The Australian Financial Review
DATE:

THE gentrification of Melbourne’s inner west is about to take a big step forward with plans by local developer Growland for a $600 million mostly residential project overlooking the Maribyrnong River. The 1000-unit apartment complex is slated for the Joseph Road precinct, designated by planning authorities as a hub for development activity.

In years gone by, Footscray was a traditional working class suburb. In more recent decades, it has provided the first home to new migrants, who have contributed to its multicultural mix of shops and eateries. Its latest incarnation is the most intense yet. The local station is being redeveloped and the government has shifted state agencies into the suburb to bolster its economic base.

Developers have quickly followed. Among them is Growland, which acquires its 13,500-square-metre site from the state development agency Place Victoria for around $17.5 million. Led by the architect Stephen Yau, Growland is planning a series of six buildings, tapering in height from around 25-0 storeys as they approach the river. The project includes potential for a hotel. 4,000 square metres of retail space and a large component of public space.

Its most distinguishing feature may be an elevated Olympic-sized running track for residents. A pedestrian link is planned from Footscray to the Maribyrnong River, where, it is hoped, river taxis will one day ferry locals to the city. “Footscray is currently in the midst of a demographic shift,” said Mr Yau. A new wave of students, young professionals and working families are moving into the suburb “who are looking to reside in a well-connected community”, he said. “The inner west has been recognised as one of Melbourne’s most undervalued opportunities and is due for rapid growth over the next two to five years.”

The project, to be known as Joseph Place, will be under way by early next year if its wins final approval from planning authorities. Less than five kilometres from the CBD, the Growland development will eventually house more than 3,000 residents and 30 new retailers when complete.

Mr Yau compares the gentrification of Footscray with another formerly working class suburb, Richmond, which is a similar distance from the city on its east side. The transformation of Richmond into an upmarket suburb is now well under way. “Footscray has the river and all the amenity however the development has not been as quick as in Richmond,” Mr Yau said. “So we see there is demand for Footscray.”