Urban Industry

Better Apartments: Yes, but not at the expense of innovation

The planning industry has been waiting for some time for the release of guidelines on the development of high rise apartments in Victoria. This is largely a result of the uncertainty, at both local government and VCAT, regarding acceptable levels of internal amenity and also the hot issue of ‘equitable development potential’. Some decision makers will not accept south facing apartments but others will, some will accept studio style dwellings for...

"Better Apartments" should be retitled "More Expensive Apartments"

On the surface, the Victorian Government’s “Better Apartments” discussion paper seeks to confirm what every apartment occupier would want to hear: mandating bigger, brighter, cross-ventilated apartments with great outlooks. What it fails to address is that this comes at significant cost. The Government is using this discussion paper as a pre-emptive move to bring Sydney’s SEPP 65 strict planning rules to Melbourne. If this transpires, the...

Top down versus bottom up architecture

For folks who aren’t architects (like me), we don’t give much thought to building design. We blissfully carry out our lives in and around structures. I’ve had the privilege recently to try to understand how a building takes shape during the design process. I’ve discovered that there seem to be 2 methods at either ends the same spectrum. Top-down and bottom-up. Each has an profound affect on not only the designs an architect produces but also how...
Docklands. © Urban Melbourne

Lucas Real Estate and the current state of play in Docklands

Urban Melbourne recently sat down for a chat with Lucas Real Estate Managing Director Glen Lucas along with Director of Property Management and recent recipient of the Property Manager of the Year award, Dylan Emmett. On the agenda was the current state of the Docklands and its progress during the 15 years Lucas Real Estate has been active in the precinct. With an office located on Docklands Drive, it has provided Glen and the Lucas Real Estate...

Do apartment dwellers want to entertain guests at home?

Australia’s housing stock traditionally has been dominated by single detached houses. In the 2006 census data it is recorded that detached dwellings constituted 74% of all Australian homes. With continued population growth and the sensible restriction of the urban growth boundary this dominance of the detached house will continue to be reduced by the increased construction of higher density options. As Australia becomes increasingly urban it...

When will the perfect storm break? Beller Property Group voice their opinion

As far back as Spring 2014 Beller Property Group director Andrew Fawell was noting a confluence of factors which has led the Melbourne property sector into a 'perfect storm.' The market in every property sector that we are involved in is firing on all cylinders at the moment. With historical low interest rates, this has compressed yields on all investment property both residential and commercial. This in turn has bolstered the markets appetite...

Richard Gu on the refined intentions of AXF Group

Urban Melbourne recently spoke with AXF Group Managing Director Richard Gu regarding all things property, and the future intent of the now well established Melbourne-based developer. Created during 2005 (with the help of Shanghai-based parent company Xiangfu), AXF Group first cut its teeth in the apartment sector with a medium-density complex located at 18-26 Bell Street, Heidelberg. While the Heidelberg project was completed during 2010, the...
Harwyn Pod. © Harwyns

Harwyn's designer pods for creation and recreation

Urban Melbourne recently had a chat with Harwyn Managing Director Jason Fremder about their prefabricated studio pods and the company's ambitions and aspirations for the future. Laurence Dragomir: What were some of the driving factors in the development of the Harwyn pods? What made you decide there was a niche or gap in the market? Jason Fremder: I came to the conclusion that there was a need for a compact professional space combined with...

Hickory expands its Brooklyn manufacturing site

The Hickory Group announced plans to expand its Brooklyn manufacturing site to ramp up production of its popular modular Sync Bathroom Pods by 200%. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Employment Jacinta Allan and Footscray MLA Marsha Thomson were on hand for the announcement which is set to create a further 100 jobs. Financial support and facilitation for the expansion of Hickory Group's operations in Brooklyn was provided through...

Buyer sentiment: What the market is telling us

2015 has kicked off with an abundance of off the plan apartment enquiry on Apartment Register , across Melbourne’s inner city suburbs. Following our article on overseas buyer demand drivers , we thought it best to comment on the local market enquiry year to date. Apartment Register’s 400 enquiry sample has been 90% local owner-occupier, comprised of first home buyer (FHB) and first time off the plan buyers; the remaining 10% is local and...


Development & Planning

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 10:00
The Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz and the local member for Williamstown Wade Noonan opened a new development designed specifically for women and children escaping family violence.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 13:00
The Victorian Government has announced it will ban the use of aluminium cladding panels that have a polyethylene core of more than 30% and expanded polystyrene will also be banned on buildings with 3 or more levels. The changes were announced by the Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, on Saturday morning along with new guidelines for building surveyors.

Visual Melbourne

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 12:00
The various spaces and elements which combine to form RMIT's New Academic Street (NAS) have progressively begun to open to students and visitors alike. I was recently fortunate enough to be part of an informal group tour through the completed spaces within NAS, led by Harrison and White which had a hand in the project.

Transport & Design

Monday, March 19, 2018 - 12:00
Works on the new purpose-built Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) headquarters were completed late last year. Now occupied, the 10-storey mixed-use complex at 535 Elizabeth Street was built by Multiplex and accommodates the organisation’s 165 staff within the 16,820 square metre building.

Sustainability & Environment