A funny thing happened on the way to the Marsh

A peculiar thing happened on the way to Bacchus Marsh... in 2008 mind you. Heading west for one reason or another, I noticed a tower crane on the horizon in Caroline Springs.

Relatively new Caroline Springs, tower crane, high-density development on the forsaken fringes of Melbourne? Hickory at the time were constructing a six level serviced apartment complex (now Quest branded) in the upstart western locale. For a suburb 25 kilometres from the big smoke, in an area considered beyond the borders of civilisation by many urbanists, this was confounding.

More confounding has been the restrained yet constant thrust in apartment living post-2008 surrounding Lake Caroline, the suburb's principal activity area. What can this be attributed to given there are no public transport options save for the odd bus, solid retail offerings yet measly entertainment options. Let's not forget comparable house & land packages within close proximity as well.

Could it be a shift in individual living preferences? It seems that like so many middle and outer suburbs in Melbourne - even Caroline Springs - have fallen for a fundamental cultural acceptance of high-density living. Apartment dwellers are a minority in Caroline Springs, but a growing minority.

Added to the aforementioned Quest serviced apartment complex is the Mercure Hotel Caroline Springs and a gaggle of small to medium-rise apartment buildings, the most noteworthy of which are:

Cascada & Belise. Both via Boom Property Group with Cascada at registrations while Belise is at sales. Combined 136 apartments.

Aqua Lakeside nearing completion whilst Woodward Way is freshly completed. Combined 156 apartments.

Conceived by Metaxas Architects, Caravelle Lane (left) holds a planning permit while The Esplanade was completed during 2013. Combined 119 apartments.

While apartment development increases, news broke last week that Caroline Springs will be serviced by a new railway station located in neighbouring Ravenhall. With at-grade parking for 350 spaces, my only request is that another tower crane be used to create a community health hub/multi-level car park similar to the ultra impressive Euneva Complex in Glen Waverley.

Too much too soon? Perhaps, but Caroline Springs has in part shifted toward a more robust urban environment by way of an increased penchant for high-density living. With plentiful brownfield sites around Lake Caroline, Caroline Springs will remain an interesting study as to how deeply high-density living can penetrate typical detached living, fringe Melbourne suburbs.


Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.