Melbourne’s First Build-to-Rent Project Opens in CBD – The Urban Developer


Melbourne’s first build-to-rent development, a 59-level tower in Southbank, has opened its doors with a third of its 400 apartments now occupied.

Home, a build-to-rent development and investment business formed by Grocon’s Daniel Grollo in 2017, is behind the rental project at 256-260 City Road—alongside the Crown Entertainment Complex and Southbank Waterfront Precinct.

Builder Icon concluded construction on the $250-million project late last year, marking the first of 20-plus institutional-grade build-to-rent projects in Melbourne’s 80000-apartment pipeline.  

Melbourne has so far claimed the particular lion’s share of build-to-rent apartments with developers quick to move on the wider array of opportunities in the Victorian capital.

Compared to other cities nationally, Melbourne has a higher number of larger, scalable, permit-approved sites available, especially in the inner-city areas.

Home director Christian Grahame told The particular Urban Developer its bullish approach towards the nascent sector had given it a head-start on its competitors with its Southbank complex providing a wealth of insights and operational learnings that would inform its expanding pipeline.

Grahame, a former head of residential at Grocon and apartments in Mirvac, will be among speakers at The Urban Developer’s upcoming Build-to-Rent vSummit .

“The Australian customer still knows relatively little about build-to-rent and there’s a great opportunity to introduce them to a better lifestyle in coming years, ” Grahame said.
“Build-to-rent is still in its infancy in Australia with very few buildings open in Australia [and] we are playing our part within ‘reinventing renting’ by offering an alternative to both home ownership and traditional renting.

▲ Home s first build-to-rent project in Southbank builds upon successful models in US and UK, where the build-to-rent model is already a popular, offering amenities similar to a high-end hotel.

“Our vision was to create a hotel-inspired lifestyle that is the epitome of laid-back Australian luxury and not available anywhere else.

“In the years since, we have continued our meticulous focus on apartment communities for rent [and] as the creator and operator, we are fastidious about the selection of locations, design, and services. ”

The particular Bates Smart-designed development, which offers one, two and three-bedroom apartments, has been inspired simply by some of the world’s leading hotels—underpinned by community, sustainability plus amenity—taking cues from high-end projects in Manhattan’s High Line and Meat Packing districts.

Unlike traditional rental accommodation, the tower is managed by Home’s onsite resident solutions team who handle parcel and mail collection, dry cleaning, pet grooming, furniture assembly, Tesla car share and onsite maintenance support.

The building has also been configured to maximise panoramic views of the CBD and Port Melbourne. The penthouse level is instead a communal space providing tenants along with access to a private banquet room and kitchen, residents’ club, cinema and co-working spaces.

Its lower levels feature an indoor pool, gym, pilates and spin studio as well as communal terraces, barbecue areas and fire pits. Meanwhile, a street-facing cafe and wine bar—with room service options—complete the ground floor lobby area.

The building is also house to contemporary artworks and sculptures throughout common areas and furnished apartments, which have been curated by Craft Victoria, who selected locally made artworks by nine Melbourne-based artists.

▲ Home has padded its pipeline out with four further projects, including a 360-apartment project from 42 Cameron Street in Richmond. Image: SJB Architects

“We’ve seen great interest from the local Southbank area and city fringe, along with strong engagement from interstate and international relocators who are looking to be close to the city, ” Grahame said.

“We’ve been incredibly customer focused on our design from the get-go.

“We’re right now hearing a lot of anecdotal feedback from residents that in addition to well-planned apartments, finishes plus practical touches, they are really comfortable utilising the communal spaces and amenities as an extension of their homes. ”

Home’s pilot project has been welcoming renters since May with weekly rental prices starting from $595, with unfurnished and furnished six month to multiyear options available.

Grahame said extreme housing market conditions, after house prices jumped 35 per cent in the past three years, had meant a growing population associated with Australians were renting simply by choice in order to “enjoy life’s luxuries”.

Adding to Home’s confidence is a looming shortfall in housing over the next decade as migration and population growth push demand well ahead of supply.

Home is in the process of opening the second project at 246 Church Street in Richmond, a lower-format, shop-top development broken into four distinct buildings, incorporating hotel-inspired build-to-rent residential, a retail centre and office elements.

It also has four further developments in its pipeline including another project within Melbourne’s CBD at Docklands as well as three in Sydney at Parramatta, St Peters, and St Leonards.

Grahame will present a case study-led presentation on House Southbank at The Urban Developer’s coming Build-to-Rent vSummit on Thursday, August 25.

The vSummit will include a keynote presentation by Colliers International’s Robert Papaleo as well as more than 15 industry experts to discuss the latest research and perspective on the current state of the nascent build-to-rent sector and its outlook for the future.  

To register for the event, click here .

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