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Home, suite home, all part of the plan - Melbourne

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  • Home, suite home, all part of the plan - Melbourne

    Home, suite home, all part of the plan

    Mario Xuereb
    April 27, 2008
    Page 1 of 2 | Single page

    BUILD it and they will come, or at least that's the hope of Melbourne property developers tussling for buyers with specific tastes.

    Eyeing what they see as holes in the market, developers are pitching their apartments to

    so-called niche clients, including affluent retirees wanting to downsize, style aficionados clamouring for the high-life, and generation Y buyers craving a home and nightspot rolled into one.

    Cinemas are making their way into high-rise apartments, and luxury day spas into what used to be the humble retirement village.

    Leading the pack is a 12-level South Yarra development aimed at 20-somethings.

    When completed in 2010, the Society building will have 242 apartments as well as a bar, "wellbeing centre", featuring everything from spray tans to Chinese massage, library and outdoor cinema.

    Steve Buxton, of the project's developer, Hamton, said the project was marketed squarely at gen-Y buyers.

    "Gen Y is a big part of the market that has been locked out by the affordability crisis, so we were trying to devise a product that would appeal to them by giving them a foot on the real-estate ladder."

    Developers hoped the added entertainment features would attract younger buyers.

    So far, most have belonged to gen Y — those born in the 1980s — and generation X, born in the 1970s, Mr Buxton said.

    The developers have also cut out car parking and rented out communal space to outside businesses to reduce body corporate fees.

    But at between $275,000 and $750,000 — some are almost bedsits, the smallest being 38 square metres — they remain pricey for the average 20-something.

    One university student, Campbell King, teamed up with an accounting student friend, Kynan West, to buy a two-bedroom apartment in Society for just under $600,000.

    Mr King said he was the type of client Hamton was after.

    He will start work in a city accounting firm after graduation and was attracted to the apartment's central location and the public transport.

    "I was looking at buying from an investment point of view, but after I got to know more and more about it, it seemed like an attractive place to live," Mr King said. "The location is ideal for me, and I like the idea of a community that they're trying to build."

    Mr Buxton said the concept had worked, and he had more gen Y inner-city developments planned.

    At the other end of the life cycle is the Mandalay development, also by Hamton.

    Aimed at cashed-up retirees keen to maintain the comfort of Melbourne's more affluent eastern suburbs, the 60 apartments (ranging from $700,000 to $1.8 million) include a full-service day spa, gym, library and pool.

    Retirement director Gabby Fitzgerald said the project incorporated what wealthier seniors wanted.

    "With Mandalay we really took a step back," she said. "It's very easy to tell the market what they need rather than providing solutions to what they expect or what they want."

    The result involved changes to the typical apartment set-up, including room for plants, separate laundries, extra storage space, pricier appliances and more space in general.

    "These are a lot of little things that may not mean much, but they make a great difference," Ms Fitzgerald said.

    It's not only retirees enjoying the finer things in life. One developer, Fridcorp, designed its next project, Ivy, for buyers who want posh surroundings without breaking the bank account. The St Kilda development will have 70 apartments when completed in December, selling at between $380,000 and $700,000.

    Paul Fridman, who heads the project, said his buyers had a love of fashion and an urge to

    keep up with trends.

    The entrance will comprise a four-storey atrium and a photo installation, and the project will include the trappings of a "virtual concierge" supplied by local businesses.

    "We'd like to think that our buyers are quality-minded people who have a design edge," Mr Fridman said.

    "We try to bring fashion into our design. Everything is designer."

    An Ivy buyer, Jim Zantidis, plans to move into his two-bedroom apartment overlooking the St Kilda Botanic Gardens when it is completed in December.

    "I follow labels and am particular with things like that," Mr Zantidis said.

    "People nowadays want a nice car, nice clothes and now a nice place, too — it's an extension of all that … it makes a statement."
    Apartments What people want


    ■ Want large apartments after years of living in detached homes.

    ■ Balconies, separate entrances, room for plants and gardening.

    ■ Space to entertain family, guests and occasionally work.

    ■ Close to art galleries and good restaurants.


    ■ Inner-city; near shopping strips.

    ■Reputable architects and noted interior designers.

    ■Quality furniture and finishes.

    ■They want their home to reflect their personality and tastes.


    ■Inner-city location, close to public transport, cafes and nightspots.

    ■Gyms, pools and in-house cinemas, restaurants and bars.

    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx

  • #2
    It was a great post to read.