Trilby Apartments a reflection of its target market

Not another apartment development on Smith Street? Well, no, Trilby is not like any other in certain regards with the team at SPEC Property going to great lengths in order to tailor the development toward the owner-occupier market.

Urban Melbourne visited the display at 410 Smith Street Collingwood in recent days following SPEC Property's latest residential release. The broad-ranging discussion encompassed topics such as the shifting dynamics of the residential sector, successfully designing a project relative to its surrounds and harnessing the target buyer for a development aiming to achieve an 80% owner-occupier buyer rate.

Trilby as envisaged from smith Street. Image courtesy SPEC Property

SPEC Property like many local developers has recognised a shift toward smaller scale, non-CBD developments which are more intimate in nature than the sizeable towers within Melbourne's CBD. Shying away from large, investor-grade apartment stock is nothing new to SPEC Property, with a sweep through the Urban Melbourne Project Database showing eight small and medium-scale residential developments currently under the guidance of the Cremorne-based property outfit.

Trilby Apartments is the latest to join this stable of projects. Upon purchasing the site the developer immediately went about redesigning the initial scheme which was still with Yarra City Council. Chief architect Ariel Lopez of Inhabit Design explained that the previous scheme was not in line with the developers expectations and ethos, thus the decision was made to rework every aspect of the project to better suit its setting.

Consequently Trilby apartments now presents as being more open to Smith Street, and with a softer exterior relative to the previous proposed design. Timber and greenery have been introduced, as has been a revised podium that better integrates with the retained facade.

Artist's impression of a loft within Trilby. Image courtesy SPEC Property

Maintaining every aspect of development from design to delivery in-house, SPEC Property have gone with a revamped interior layout in order to create living options that will best suit the target market. The in-house nature of the business allows for, and almost demands that the developer taps into their customer database in order to gain critical feedback on issues of design, livability and the like.

Consequently loft apartments have been introduced throughout the Trilby podium; a direct result of the success of their experience of placing lofts within Helio on Flemington Road.

The sales team have been delighted to date with the volume of foot traffic through the display suite. Quizzed on the catchment area of both prospective and actual purchasers, it's explained that the bulk of traffic to date is from Collingwood and surrounding suburbs, with a skew to areas such as Kew and Hawthorn. Tram 86 which stretches to Bundoora also accounts for a notable amount of display traffic, with a tram stop in close vicinity to the display front door.

Downsizers have also been prevalent in the buyer profile, with the most notable being a couple who have chosen to leave Shepparton behind in favour of a podium loft-style apartment.

In addition to the lofts, terrace apartments are located over level three with the balance of the building's 106 dwellings dedicated toward one and two bedroom apartments; all of which have been given the touch befitting of an apartment set to be owner-occupied. As Ariel Lopez explained, it serves no purpose going to such great design lengths to simply churn out further investor-driven apartment stock.

A two bedroom interior. Image courtesy SPEC Property

As such the apartments are finished to an exceedingly high level and carry a number of features previously unseen by Urban Melbourne. The surprise within the display are the kitchen kickboards which are actually draws, providing additional storage space.

All apartment finishes carry an industrial edge in their design. Aged bronzed tapware, Smeg appliances and powder-coated steel island benches define the kitchen spaces, with a similar motif throughout the bathrooms. Resembling plywood in appearance, the novel finish to the joinery continues the industrial theme, but with an underlying quality.

Crowning Trilby will be an external rooftop deck incorporating a lounge and kitchen, library, bar, ping pong facilities, playground, outdoor cinema and Teppanyaki grill. Bricks salvaged from the site demolition will be reused throughout the rooftop deck, bringing a lived-in quality to the communal area while avoiding the perception of sterility which tends to define many communal areas of recent residential projects through Melbourne.

In-house builder TriUrban Construction is set to commence construction works on Trilby Apartments.

Recycled bricks frame the rooftop area. Image courtesy SPEC Property


Aussie Steve's picture

The poor treatment of the historic facade makes this project fail in my mind. There are cleverer ways of retaining a historic building and allowing for redevelopment, but this isn't one of them. FAIL!

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Bilby's picture

I had a look at the display suite for this one the other day - from a distance it looked ok, but the finishes and materials seem ... I don't know how to put it, exactly ... somewhat tinny and under-scaled somehow. Maybe that's supposed to be retro?

Also, isn't this development in the same "Special building overlay" as "You and I"? If so, why does it manage to address Smith Street at grade, where "You and I" fails in this regard? If anything, the closer you are to Alexandra Pde., the greater the risk of flooding, surely?

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