Developers turn to larger apartments to compete with townhouses
Developers are banking on family-sized apartments and features like internal lifts to entice downsizing baby boomers into suburban projects. Tony Huang's Auyin Property Development is set to launch a three-stage $120 million project at 212-216 Bay Road Sandringham where one third of the apartments will be between 120 and 220 square metres, well above Melbourne's average of 95 square metres.
Mr Huang said the scarcity of development land in middle ring neighbourhoods was behind the push to include larger apartments as an alternative to townhouses. "The next trend is for big apartments, good-size apartments, which can compete with townhouses," Mr Huang said. "It's like Singapore and Hong Kong where middle classes live in good quality, large-sized apartments."
"Our product will compete with townhouses, but in an apartment complex," Mr Huang said. "In today's market, there's not many of those big apartments where the sizes are more than 140 square metres." The project called Pavilion Green will have 300 apartments, including 11 loft-style units set over two levels each with a self-contained lift. China-based developer Dahua Group Australia is another developer beefing up its offering of three-bedroom-plus apartments. It will include 11 townhouses and 38 three-bedroom apartments in one the largest projects yet to be built in Hawthorn east. Dahua has received planning approval for a $280 million development tucked between three streets – Camberwell Road, Burwood Road and Gillman Street. The final Rothelowman design has four low-rise buildings with 368 residences and cafes, shops and other retail services at street level. Dahua arrived in Australia three years ago. In that time it has amassed a large $4.5 billion pipeline of land sub-division and apartment projects. The group, founded in China in 1988, has 13 projects in Melbourne and four in Sydney. Auyin gained approval to construct three buildings between five and six storeys at its Sandringham site after a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing in 2012. Other large-scale developments planned in the area have also encountered opposition. Bayside Council recently rejected a proposed eight-storey project with 108 apartments at 427-461 Hampton Street in Hampton arguing it was too tall for the area. Late last year, Auyin group purchased the Daily Planet brothel building in Elsternwick for $12.66 million with plans to redevelop the site. The Daily Planet was owned by Australia's only ASX-listed strip club, Planet Platinum, which was tipped into administration in 2015 after the Australian Securities and Investment Commission alleged a string of serious governance breaches against its founder John Trimble, the nephew of notorious underworld figure Robert Trimbole.