409 St Kilda Road is being positioned as Melbourne's most elite address.
In a recent media blitz, Devitt Property Group unveiled their intentions for the prime site which currently houses an exhausted-looking 14 level office building. In its place will rise a similarly-sized residential building that Devitt Property Group expect will become Melbourne's most prestigious address on Melbourne's most recognisable boulevard.
Kane Devitt of Devitt Property Group spoke with Urban Melbourne, providing further detail on the project which has been christened The Muse.
UM: Can you go into the rationale behind the choice of Bruce Henderson Architects as design lead for the project, and the design of the building itself?
KD: Bruce Henderson Architects are one of Melbourne’s top-tier architecture practices, and a group we have a strong working relationship with. In addition to their track record of delivering luxury apartment projects, they have a unique insight into our key target market, having designed some of Melbourne’s largest and most expensive homes.
They understand where these buyers are coming from, and consequently what their expectations are. The buyers we are targeting are uncompromising, they expect the very best, which is what we will be delivering.
We couldn’t be more pleased with the design of the building. The architecture of The Muse is both elegant and respectful of its site on St Kilda Road. It will become one of Melbourne’s preeminent pieces of architecture.
The front row of the building is not facetted, but curved glass to maximize the view from the interior and also reinforce the elegant feminine design throughout. It’s also designed to disappear within the Shrine of Remembrance vista from the CBD, reintroducing this concept for St Kilda Road.
UM: With so many high-end projects currently offering large apartments for sale, how will the development team discern The Muse from the pack?
KD: Yes, the luxury end of the property market is truly thriving not just in Melbourne but throughout Australia. While there are ample luxury developments in progress in the Melbourne market, we have gone a lot further with The Muse.
The Muse differentiates itself in many ways, but one of our key points of difference is that we offer 6-star facilities and services, to an exclusive group of only 47 residents. Our buyers will enjoy 24/7 concierge services, swimming pools, a gymnasium and spa, plus a residents club lounge with private meeting rooms.
No other building in Melbourne, arguably Australia, offers so much to so few residents.
We have taken our cue from cities like London, New York and Singapore, where exclusive buildings like this cater for a high net worth audience that equally value services and facilities with privacy and security. While there is luxury on offer in Melbourne, as we say in the team, The Muse is well and truly
“life beyond luxury”.
UM: Are there any features that are unique to The Muse relative to other high-end apartment projects across Melbourne, or is The Muse's selling point that is simply does everything bigger and better in terms of living spaces and amenities?
KD: Every residence in The Muse is being treated as an entirely separate entity.
Bruce Henderson Architects, in collaboration with our exciting soon to be named top tier design team, will plan each residence to the specific requirements of every purchaser. These homes will be truly customizable, molding themselves to suit each buyer’s specific requirements.
Every apartment will have penthouse quality finishes, large terraces and 10ft ceilings. All apartments will have lockable garages to be comprised of a minimum of 3 spaces, with each space wider than average to accommodate luxury cars. We are catering to the most discerning purchaser, so have gone above and beyond to make this a stand out project.
With the level of luxury and amenity on offer, we are not expecting these properties to come onto the market very often at all. Luxury such as this is often tightly held by owners and becomes almost unattainable.
UM: Can apartments be merged into larger dwellings should prospective buyers request it?
KD: Absolutely. The concept behind The Muse is that a purchaser can quite literally build their own, unique apartment. We are expecting many of our buyers will do this.
Ordinarily a building of this size would house around 200 apartments, we have planned for 47, however we are expecting this will drop further with people combining residences. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were only 40 residences once complete.
UM: Having considered the higher density 200-apartment option versus the luxury 47-apartment intended outcome, which had the higher degree of development risk from Devitt Property Group’s perspective?
KD: There is, of course, an element of risk with any project, but from our perspective, this is a project that we have been in planning for 15 years and is a passion project not just for us, but the whole team.
We have a unique insight in the prime apartment market in Melbourne, and we know that this project fills a void in the Melbourne apartment market as an exclusive, prime offering. There is nothing else out there that can compare on this front, so we are confident moving into launch phase.
We have had many enquiries from people in other buildings in Melbourne who are tired of stepping into their lift with strangers. They do not want to own a luxury home on top of a building full of tenants, they want to be part of an exclusive community of like-minded owners.
UM: Assuming planning for the project goes as expected, when will The Muse be released for sale, and is there a construction start date in mind?
KD: Construction is planned to begin in 2018 and completion 2020. We plan to launch to a VVIP audience in early 2018, with construction of our amazing display suite already underway.