Trenerry Property in collaboration with Victor Smorgon Group and the Kanat Family are launching West End, a $300 million mixed-use development that will transform a former West Melbourne industrial site into a vibrant new community. West End is located on an approximately one hectare site in West Melbourne bounded by Rosslyn, Dudley and Adderley Streets, as well as Bluestone Lane near Spencer Street.
The site is formerly an Australia Post Mail Centre and had a permit for a ROTHELOWMAN designed development, covered on Urban Melbourne over two years ago.
The revised design sees West End envisaged as a significant development that marries design, sustainability, technology and amenity. Designed by a who's who of leading architecture firms, the overall development sees four residential buildings, a new concept hotel, retail, extensive amenities and a new public park that will be suplemented by private resident gardens.
Urban Melbourne interviewed Trenerry Property director, Robert DiCintio about the the groups' ambitions for the site.
Urban Melbourne: What was the appeal of the site for Trenerry Property and more broadly West Melbourne?
Robert DiCintio: We had been in the market for a long time for a large parcel of land near the city and the former Australia Post site in West Melbourne presented an exceptional development opportunity. The site, at 9200 square metres, is significant in size and the chance to transform an entire block and create an exceptional new mixed use development was very appealing.
West End is unlike anything ever seen before in Australia, comprising a diverse residential product offer, as well as commercial, office, and retail elements. The size is important because not only are we able to develop different apartment types with different characteristics and styles, but the land size allows us to provide zones of refuge, contemplation, peace and sanctuary.
West End will make a great, positive impact on West Melbourne, with public parks and amenities that will benefit the entire suburb, as well as the residents who choose to live at West End.
UM: Building on the previous question: West Melbourne is experiencing a bit of a renaissance and witnessing a surge in the number of medium to high density proposals. Why do you believe this to be the case? Is it the proximity to the CBD and Docklands?
RD: West Melbourne is ideally located, close to the CBD and Docklands, as well as Melbourne's legal, medical and education precincts. The suburb is transforming from its industrial heritage into the city's own buzzing Brooklyn.
West Melbourne has some of the most beautiful streets of the inner city suburbs. The streets are wide, reflecting the suburb's industrial heritage that requiring large truck access and maneuvering, but these wide streets have now been planted and are beautifully tree lined with mature, green canopy trees.
It's generally accepted that the best suburbs in Melbourne are mostly located around the CBD - East Melbourne, Richmond, Collingwood, South Melbourne - and yet West Melbourne hasn’t been factored into people's thinking to date. It's an anomaly, given the amazing location and attributes of West Melbourne.
Since much of the industry has now left West Melbourne, the suburb now has beautiful streetscapes, with amazing Victorian terraces sitting side by side with converted warehouse homes and heritage offices. The suburb is very pretty and has a real village atmosphere.
West Melbourne was always going to experience a resurgence – it has begun but there will be a long way to go and those who get in now will do very well both from a lifestyle point of view and financially. West End will add to the area by introducing amenities that will enhance the lifestyles of those living in the suburb: a supermarket, restaurants, cafes, bars and hotel will further establish West Melbourne's appeal.
UM: Did master planners ARM start from scratch or work on and build on the framework of the previous permit?
RD: Essentially, the scheme is new and we're really thrilled with the master plan designed by ARM Architecture.
UM: What changes were made to the permitted scheme obtained as part of the site purchase from Australia Post?
RD: Many changes were made, including activation of all street facades so there was a full connection with our neighbours – West End has 331 meters of street frontage and all but 20 meters are activated. The West End masterplan is all about connecting with our local community.
The Trenerry consortium are essentially residential developers but as all three owners, the Victor Smorgon Group, Kanat family and myself, have a strong and long history in retail, it is very natural for us to incorporate amazing retail elements such as wine bars, restaurants and cafes along with a hotel.
Melbourne City Council and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DWELP) made an valuable and real contribution to the design by challenging us to become more innovative. In addition to the considerably increased retail offer and hotel inclusion, we redesigned each building, each having its own point of difference in design.
UM: The project has an amazing variety of designers working on it, what was the reason for this? Creating diversity in building design rather than a monotonous development?
RD: Creating a diverse, design-focused development was a key priority for West End.
In order to create diversity, it was not possible to run with only one architect. Bringing together six different architects and interior designers makes the project even more exciting and assists in delivering the vision of creating a vibrant and exciting place to live in for people.
Each of the design firms involved in the project are nationally renowned and highly awarded. All the firms have a distinct design aesthetic and have been engaged to put their unique stamp and signature style on the development, ensuring every residential building has its own design ethos.
Bringing together a large group of designers of such high calibre has not been done before in Australia and it's another element that makes West End such a unique concept.
UM: And lastly what would the target market be for the development?
RD: West End caters for a diverse audience, with a variety of different apartment styles and designs available. Those looking to live at West End will be choosing to live in a vibrant community, with a fully integrated lifestyle. Owner-occupiers who value excellent design and are after a curated lifestyle will be drawn to West End and its location will appeal to those who want to be on the city's doorstep and who work in the nearby legal, medical and education precincts.
We believe that people want to live in a vibrant location amongst a wide demographic. West End enables residents to choose how they wish to live, whether it be a dynamic or relaxed lifestyle, but always secure, connected and convenient and without the hassles associated with maintaining a traditional home.
I'm moving into the Adderley building and, lucky for me, my son and his partner are also moving into the Foundry building. That’s what West End is all about.
Trenerry Property only develops apartments which can be lived in, which means we build for owner occupiers. So if its good enough to live in then its going to be a great investment as well.
Construction on West End is set to commence in June 2017, with completion anticipated late 2019.